Shileste Overton Morris serves as the director of the Center for Schools and Communities, and the Chief Programs Officer at the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, an education service agency, where she leads the organization’s equity efforts. The Center provides local, state, national and international services to build capacity in schools, districts, county and state agencies and other children, youth and family serving organizations. Through the provision of professional development, coaching and technical assistance, the Center supports the improvement of educational and life outcomes for individuals from birth through post-secondary. The Center’s work focuses on a continuum of efforts around early childhood care and development, social and emotional learning, educational equity, positive youth development, family support and community service integration, school safety, juvenile justice and youth violence prevention.
Dr. Overton Morris has worked at and with both public and private institutions including nonprofit organizations, foundations and state government agencies building strategic partnerships and leading innovative work. Overton Morris has led strategic planning efforts for her organization and other community based organizations. Overton Morris has worked with the United Way of New York City, facilitating the Community Mapping process with residents of Mott Haven to improve literacy rates and Clayton County, Georgia School District to assess and implement Social Emotional Learning. Dr. Overton Morris provided leadership and consultation to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the development of a hybrid course for principals and superintendents focused on equity and leadership. She has developed and presented training focused on equity, social justice, family school and community partnerships, social entrepreneurship and other topics relevant to school and community improvement.
Overton Morris also serves on a number of national, state and local boards, including the National Healthy Teen Leadership Alliance, the Center for Educational Equity, SEL4US Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools, the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN), and the Foundation for Enhancing Communities Women’s Fund.
Overton Morris has authored several publications, including “Girl Grudges: Learning to Forgive and Live,” written to help clinicians, parents and youth development staff who work with adolescent girls regarding female aggression. She has developed a strong repertoire in topics related to strategic leadership, parent engagement, marginalized populations and issues focusing on cultural competence, equity and education leadership. Dr. Overton Morris has been recognized by a number of organizations for her commitment to education, community and service.
Overton Morris completed her Doctor of Education at Shippensburg University, defending her dissertation research, focused on the process and perceptions of an equity initiative to address racial disproportionality in school discipline in an urban district. She has a master’s degree in public administration and a certificate in nonprofit administration from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a bachelor’s in communications from Temple University. Overton-Morris is a graduate of the education policy leadership fellow program sponsored by the Institute for Educational Leadership and possesses certifications and training in a number of education related and youth serving areas.