Travis Smith

"The paradox of education is precisely this—that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." James Baldwin

With that said, my name is Travis Sankofa, and I am the proud son of two wonderful people who coalesced in the sunny State of Georgia, several Sundays ago. The result: Me.

We moved to the Twin Cities in the late 1900s, where upon my arrival I was enrolled in a place called Ramsey International Fine Arts Middle School. From here I proceeded to Washburn High School, and from there I went on to study Public Health at Metropolitan State University. Along the way I met a wonderful woman, who would become my wife and the mother of our amazing children (later to come in the story).

I have been Dean of Students in the district for 3 years. Prior to joining the Minneapolis Public School System, I worked as a Childcare Teacher for 12 years, and as a Youth Counselor for seven, at the YWCA of Minneapolis. As a Youth Counselor I was fortunate to work with a wide range of students all over the city, at places such as: North High, South High, Roosevelt High, Washburn High, City View, Lucy Laney, Seward Montessori, and Anthony Middle School-to name a few. It was at Anthony where I was invited to join their team as a dean, and I’ve been on this journey since.

I am a firm believer in the power of the human being, and I believe in context. Nature abhors a void! I subscribe to kindness and understanding, and I believe relationship building is sacrosanct because people need people to become people! We are all products of where we’ve been and that must be considered as we move forward to where we are going.

"Traveling Trav" is one of my nicknames, because I adore traveling and seeing what my beautiful world has to offer. I love playing chess, tennis, golf, and reading when I can. And there is nothing like great music!

Time is my most precious resource, so with what little I have I spend it with my amazing family! I'm the proud parent of the three greatest children to ever live: Messiah (15), Ka'maya (10), and Yasiel (2)! Messiah is a Mathelete, Ka'maya is an Athlete, and Yasiel is among the Elite for his age! They are M.E. (My Everything!!!!!!!!)

As the African proverb informs us, it takes a community to educate a child! I work with youth in the manner that I would want others to work with mine. As Baldwin also noted, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." For this reason, everyday I strive to be a positive example of a decent human being.

Thanks for having me contribute to the paradox.

Travis Smith |
Dean of Students—7th Grade | Associate Educator
Justice Page Middle School | Minneapolis Public Schools