School dean stands in the gap for students of color

Consultant provides educational supports for student and families

“Black Lives Matter” is resonating in our nation and is bringing awareness to the changes needed to address many systemic barriers. For Keary Wayne Saffold, it is music to his ears. For the last 13 years he has dedicated his life to ensuring that every child hears that they matter.

Keary Saffold
Keary Saffold

As the son of Minister Stephanie Saffold and the late Kenneth Wayne Saffold, an attorney, the imperative for social equity resounded throughout Keary’s life. As an alumni of St. Paul Central High School and Metro State University, Saffold knows first-hand the challenges urban youth face as they work to graduate high school and begin the journey to college and into adult responsibilities.

According to Saffold, “I’ve had my fair share of systematic barriers to navigate, to the point [that] I almost became a statistic.” Today, he spends his time working and volunteering in organizations and schools to promote the systemic change that is required to close the gaps between students of color and their White peers.

“When you see a gap, you learn to stand in it immediately, without hesitation. You maintain this until the bridge is built or fortified,” Saffold says. “This building and fortification process comes through authentic relationships and organic solutions.”

Saffold is compassionate and especially concerned about the future of African American males, “so much so, that I started my own consulting firm in 2006, Saffold Consulting Inc.” Through it he provides support services to parents, schools and other programs to shift or enhance the academic trajectory of students and families.

“It works,” he says. “Participants re-wire their belief system and begin to value their educational opportunities.” Saffold Consulting does ongoing evaluation that measures these changes and provides impact reports as a part of his services. Saffold spoke about a new project he is preparing called KWST (pronounced quest) Mentoring.

KWST Mentoring will aim to connect every young person in need with a positive, caring adult. It is a project that is very near to his heart as it is founded on the principles and mentoring example of his late father, hence the name behind the acronym: Kenneth Wayne Saffold Tailored (KWST) Mentoring.

Beyond being busy with consulting, Saffold always makes time for his wife and their two sons, ages nine and 17. He also serves on the board of directors for the Wayman Boys Steppers for Christ and The St. Paul Central Sports Booster Club.

Saffold has worked in many school-based, community and therapeutic settings, all of which have prepared him for his current role as dean of students at Crosswinds Arts and Science School.

“A big reason that I decided to work at Crosswinds is because of its history and founding charter, which respects the contributions each of us make to the learning environment.” Saffold is working to recruit new students and helping families become aware of what he calls, “Minnesota’s best-kept secret.” The vast majority of students who attend Crosswinds come from neighboring districts.

“Parents are increasingly valuing school as a microcosm of the real world. They want their children to have access to the opportunities afforded by cross-cultural relationships,” states Saffold.

Committed to improving the lives of his own children and others’, Saffold is working to support youth in the community through leadership, leadership that communicates Black lives matter.

For more information on Keary Saffold, email keary.saffold@gmail.com. For more information on Crosswinds, email emailingkeary.saffold@crosswindsmn.org or call 651-379-2604.

Brandi Phillips welcomes reader comments to bphillips@spokesman-recorder.com.

 

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