Hi, Dominick! Welcome to Code Nation. Why are you excited to join us?

I am delighted to join Code Nation as its mission resonates deeply with my beliefs and values. Code Nation’s commitment over the past 10 years to making technology more accessible is commendable, and I find this work truly inspiring. W.E.B Du Bois said it best: “Strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by disappointments but possibilities” – something which perfectly sums up Code Nation’s work.

As I begin my journey with Code Nation, I am thrilled to become an integral member of its community and look forward to shaping its future. I look forward to collaborating with like-minded individuals who share my passion for empowering underrepresented groups through tech, along with sharing my diverse skill set in order to help shape its development while providing upward mobility opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized.

Beyond my skills and expertise, I also bring a servant leadership approach to my work. I strongly adhere to its principles – prioritizing others needs while empowering individuals, creating inclusive environments and supporting environments – by practicing servant leadership, I aim to set an example, inspire others, and foster an environment of collaboration, empathy, and growth within Code Nation. Together we can make a real, impactful change on individuals’ lives while opening doors to opportunities within tech.

My career has been profoundly shaped by the help and mentorship of non-profit organizations throughout my journey. Their guidance, resources, and mentorship have played an essential part in my professional growth – joining Code Nation allows me to give back some of what has been given to me!

Can you share more about your professional background?

My career in computer science education has been marked by versatility and forward thinking. My expertise lies in computer science education curriculum development, program administration and stakeholder engagement. By capitalizing on these abilities, I have consistently created exceptional outcomes such as high pass rates for my courses, inclusive learning environments for all learners and innovative educational initiatives.

My professional journey began in Memphis, TN where I initially taught mathematics to middle schoolers. While teaching math provided some fulfillment and satisfaction, something felt amiss compared to teaching computer science at high school – my true passion and purpose came alive when witnessing inner city students go from no knowledge of algorithms and conditionals to independently designing websites and apps reflecting themselves. It was truly astounding! When life gets difficult I often take comfort in remembering my students’ resilience and determination as powerful reminders and sources of continued inspiration.

While serving as Computer Science State Supervisor at South Carolina Department of Education, I championed accessibility while encouraging passion among students for technology. By keeping South Carolina as a premier state for computer science education, my efforts helped empower learners while giving them the tools needed for success.

Adaptability, innovation, and an unrelenting drive for results define my professional journey. Over the course of my career, I’ve earned recognition as a recognized thought on K-12 Computer Science education, often invited to speak and share expertise at national STEM conferences – opportunities I welcome as opportunities to contribute to the field, impart knowledge to others and collaborate on building strong professional relationships among colleagues.

Why are you passionate about education?

As a Black man working in education, my passion and drive to make an impactful contribution is even stronger, given that my presence does not represent the norm. Recognizing and confronting existing biases only fuelled my commitment; by breaking them down, I hope to inspire and empower other historically excluded communities to follow their goals and realize their dreams.

Education can have immense transformative power. It has the capacity to dismantle stereotypical beliefs that hinder the progress of marginalized communities. I come from an extended family where education was always seen as essential and as the gateway for upward mobility. My mission is simple; I want everyone to experience that sense of empowerment that allows them to realize their dreams are within reach.

By advocating for education, my aim is to promote an environment in which diversity is welcomed and celebrated across all sectors, including education. Together we can rewrite narratives that reinforce oppression against POC in tech industries and create the future we’ve imagined.

What do you hope to achieve as CPPO at Code Nation?

As CPPO at Code Nation, my focus and ambition lie squarely in fulfilling its mission and vision by strategically leading programmatic initiatives and forging mutually-beneficial partnerships.

At its core, my aim is to ensure our programs are of the highest quality, equipping students with all of the knowledge, skills, and resources they require for success in today’s digital environment. Working closely with my program team, I will develop and refine curricula aligned with industry standards while simultaneously meeting student needs – thus creating an inclusive learning environment and encouraging young individuals to excel in technology-driven careers.

I want Code Nation to lead by example in catalyzing positive change for underrepresented communities so they may thrive and contribute meaningfully in tech industries worldwide.

What are you up to outside of work?

My focus and dedication are centered around completing my EdD in Educational Leadership and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. I am in the final year of my program, nearing the finish line, and fully committed to achieving this important milestone. This degree holds immense importance to me, not only for the knowledge and skills it imparts but also for the personal significance it carries. It serves as a testament to the opportunities and possibilities that education can provide, breaking the barriers that once limited our family’s aspirations.

Moreover, the pursuit of this degree holds a deep personal meaning for me. Years ago, I tragically lost a close cousin who aspired to become a doctor, but her dreams were cut short due to lupus. We often spoke about our shared aspirations of achieving higher education and the adventures we would embark on as successful professionals. By completing this degree, I honor her memory and carry forward the dreams we once shared, embracing the significance of the journey we had imagined together.

In my personal life, I lead an active lifestyle. I enjoy playing tennis, cycling, participating in HIT workouts, and being a member of the local run group. I also have a passion for cooking. While I don’t have a specific favorite dish, I cherish all of the culinary creations I prepare, considering them each to be special in their own way. During my childhood, I not only developed a passion for cooking through the time spent with my mom and grandma in the kitchen but also discovered my interest in computer science. As I dived deeper into the world of technology, I realized the remarkable parallels between coding and cooking. Both fields require a combination of precision, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Just as my mom and grandma didn’t rely on measuring cups, coding often involves finding innovative solutions without strict guidelines. This connection between culinary arts and computer science fueled my enthusiasm for both disciplines and inspired me to explore how technology could enhance the culinary experience.

Outside my personal endeavors, I actively contribute to several organizations, including the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), the National Society of Black Engineers, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated, and the Jackson State Alumni Chapter. Through my involvement, I am dedicated to promoting equity, empowering underrepresented communities, and supporting alums to create a more inclusive and supportive environment.

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