Allison Upshaw, Ph.D., an arts-based data storyteller and our primary facilitator, is a native of Forest Home, AL. She holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory, Louisiana State University, and a doctorate from the University of Alabama in Interdisciplinary Studies. A published scholar, winner of an international research award, and a professional grant writer (over $200,000 awarded), she has worked as a consultant in curriculum building for over 20 years. Storytelling, role-playing, and creative nonfiction are but a few of the artistic practices through which she has successfully engaged social justice initiatives in her work with K-20. She has provided workshops for community engagement between schools and parents, taught workshops on defining diversity vocabulary, and embodied instructional practices for equity and inclusion initiatives.
Dr. Upshaw is currently an assistant professor at a historical Black college and university (HBCU) in Alabama. For the past 20 years she has provided a variety of face to face workshops, including racial diversity to racial and ethnic minorities and students living in poverty. She has also participated in multi-year projects using the arts to assist English Language Learners. Her work has included private schools in K-12, public schools in K-12, Title IX schools, and colleges. Dr. Upshaw has also worked long term equity projects in psychiatric juvenile detention centers and foster child shelters.
Planning Diversity, Inc. specializes in helping you develop and implement strategies framed within your organizational context, and by your system's needs. Our facilitators have
over 40 years experience as presenters, educators, and facilitators.
Our capabilities focus on providing creative and highly interactive workshops in both face to face and virtual settings , developing individualized curricula based on stakeholder (community)-determined needs, and offering creative evaluation tools. We establish a common vocabulary through which to engage in-depth conversations. We define multiple perspectives of respect, and then use that clarity for
building bridges through clearly defined channels of communications.
We differ from our competitors by offering community driven, deep-diving, socio-emotional learning strategies, engaging the work through community-based partnerships, adaptive curriculum building, and utilizing the conceptual framework of Ubuntu (“I am because we are”) to
guide our curriculum building toward reconciliation and equity for all
Walidah Staley, M.Ed., holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Clemson University, a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland, and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Claflin University. Ms. Staley has over 25 years of experience as an educator in secondary and post-secondary settings. During her tenure as a classroom professional, she led school improvement efforts and designed programs to increase parental involvement.
Prior to joining Planning Diversity, Inc., Ms. Staley served as principal trainer and instructional designer providing credentialing and professional development workshops for a healthcare organization. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she founded iTeachiTutor, an organization helping parents and students maintain and gain academic success during this time of academic turmoil. Ms. Staley is a world traveler, lifelong learner, and forever educator with ongoing endeavors that have made her an empathic proponent of racial equity and cultural diversity both in and out of the classroom. She believes as Maya Angelou did, “if you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”