Kia Darling-Hammond

Kia Darling-Hammond (she/her) holds a doctorate in developmental and psychological sciences in education, is author of the Bridge to Thriving Framework©, and co-author of The Civil Rights Road to Deeper Learning: Five Essentials for Equity. As CEO of the research and education firm Wise Chipmunk LLC, she leverages more than 25 years of experience in youth development, education, and organizational leadership to offer healing-centered research, advising, coaching, counseling, and public speaking, as well as designs for professional learning, curriculum development, and organizational growth. Darling-Hammond’s work emphasizes the importance of combining the science of learning and development with healing justice and transformative justice to promote an evolution toward thriving for all. This approach is grounded in the knowledge that innovation driven by the wisdom of those furthest from power is key to improving everyone’s lives. In addition to her books, she has published work in Equity and Excellence in Education, Liberal Education, Nonprofit Quarterly, and the Lancet. She serves as a member of Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s Black Mental Health Brain Trust, is a contributing scholar and advisor to the Sports Equity Lab at Yale, and sits on the Wild Seed Liberation Land Board of Directors.

Books by Kia Darling-Hammond:

T* is for Thriving
Blueprints for Affirming Trans* and Gender Creative Lives and Learning in Schools

Being a transgender or gender creative (T*GC) child in the United States today means facing a national debate about whether you are entitled to exist, live a full life, or control your body. The battle for T*GC rights today is part of a larger intergenerational war and one key battleground is America’s public schools. Even before the current onslaught of anti-trans* legislation, persistent cis-heteronormativity was rendering thousands of students (and adults) invisible and othered in schools. T*GC students have suffered dire consequences from educational neglect, including among the highest rates of academic exclusion, vulnerability to every kind of violence, poor mental health, and troubling life outcomes. At the time that this manuscript was completed, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was tracking over 460 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, roughly half of which target the T*GC community (children, in particular)—an avalanche of hate orchestrated by a powerful, vocal minority.

T* is for Thriving offers the collected wisdom of transgender and gender creative youth and educators to light a path toward T*GC community thriving. Through their voices, we learn what schooling has been like; how their educational experiences echo throughout their daily lives; and what public education can do better to both center their needs and promote a lifetime of growth and fulfillment.

As concerned and caring adults meeting this moment, we must be courageous about representing, affirming, and celebrating T*GC needs, histories, and contributions in schools. These stories and lessons are an immediate resource for advancing a pedagogy of hope and possibility for the present and future that our children deserve. T* is for Thriving is essential reading for anyone involved in defending the rights of educators and students. It is the perfect text for a variety of courses in social justice, LGBTQ+ topics, and critical pedagogy.

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