PERMIAN BASIN, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Educators from the Basin and across the state of Texas discussed the importance of having a local affiliate of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators, days before the inaugural ceremony of the very first West Texas affiliate is established.

MISD Superintendent, Dr. Angélica Ramsey shared why she joined forces with the WTAABSE (West Texas Area Alliance of Black School Educators) and her thoughts on diversity in the classroom as well as leadership roles in education.

“It is extremely important that at all levels of an organization, especially in a school district students are able to see people that look like them. I can’t be what I can’t see.

Dr. Ramsey goes on to say, “We need to make sure that we have a group of Black educators that can be an affinity group for one another for support, for professional development to really talk about and lean on one another but more importantly for me as a superintendent it’s to continue the pipeline”

Sent from Houston to West Texas for a leadership position, Dr. Tyra Williams, the soon-to-be founding President of WTAABSE saw that there was a need for a local TABSE affiliate and she started the groundwork along with other educators to create WTAABSE, and she says it wasn’t an easy task. 

“It was boots on the ground literally door to door, church to church, college campuses, for almost a year. We hit the ground running to get this up and going, and the support we’ve received from TABSE has been everything” said Dr. Williams.

John Washington, former President of TABSE says that the West Texas Alliance of Black School Educators will be the first of its kind in the Basin, making a total of 17 TABSE affiliates across the state of Texas.

“Right now we have 16 affiliates across the state of Texas, the West Texas Alliance will be 17. The 18th one will be in the Gulf Coast area and we’re working on that as we speak” said Washington.

Dr. Jamal Robinson, the state treasurer for TABSE says that the organization has more than 1,100 members statewide and that the common misconception behind the organization is that many people think you have to be a minority to join, which Dr. Washington says isn’t the case.

“We have members of all ethnicities and all community members in all positions,”

Washington goes on to say that, they’ve increased training and leadership seminars to figure out what needs to be done to get all students access to a first-class educational learning system. 

“Research has shown us that even with the advancements in ESL and bilingual learning, African American children are still falling behind,” 

Supporting secondary and post-secondary school, there are 4 main goals that Dr. Tyra Williams says WTAABSE strives for:

-To remain steadfast in the mission and vision of TABSE by enacting the “Keonic Principle” when acts of violence or intolerance are committed against students. 
-To provide school districts with support concerning diversity issues (including finding solutions to the high suspension rates of African- American students and the hiring of diverse personnel) 
– To connect and support the communities of West Texas in authentic and innovative ways. 
– To exhibit high levels of emotional intelligence and professionalism in the ways we communicate and address issues with members and all stakeholders.

Right now, the West Texas Area Alliance of Black School Educators covers Midland, Odessa, and Big Spring and has plans of expanding its outreach to other areas of the Basin.

The official swearing-in of local educators into the WTAABSE will take place next Tuesday, May 31st in Midland at Macedonia Baptist Church. Juneteenth in Midland and Odessa will also be a time for the community to become better acquainted with the TABSE local affiliate here in the Basin. 

To become a member of TABSE and the West Texas affiliate, click here.