Introducing Danielle Bryant, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education

Danielle Bryant

Danielle Bryant grew up in Wichita, Kansas, with family roots in the South. When she was young, her aunts and mom decided it was time for a new view and moved their families to Tacoma. 

But Bryant wasn’t done with Kansas yet — she returned to study biochemistry at Wichita State University because “I love science. It’s so hands on, you get to make things. Want to make a volcano, make a volcano! Want to make a battery, make a battery! Things happen in science class.” Later down the road, she finished her master’s in Healthcare Administration at her alma mater, Wichita State University.

After college, Bryant moved back to Washington and started working in a laboratory, but did not enjoy the workplace culture. From the labs to the overall vibe, “the sterile environment and the quiet area signs were not for me.”

Moving into the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) was a long and winding road. In undergrad, Bryant worked in the disability office and found she loved working with marginalized communities and people with differing abilities. When she realized her work at the laboratory wasn’t a good fit for her personality, she became a middle school teacher and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the classroom. From there, Bryant jumped into the disability non-profit world, working with children birth to three at A Step Ahead in Pierce County and, most recently, South Sound Parent to Parent. 

When considering the position at ESD 113, Bryant recognized that DEI work was already underway and that change is possible. “Making change is important to me. Being at a place where teams can make that change and are willing to make that change is important. It took me my lifetime to figure that out.” Having staff and leadership that were already on board with putting in the work made the job exciting to Bryant. “Having autonomy to make effective, sustainable change — the ESD is in a beautiful position to be able to do that for itself and support its districts in making change.”

What can we expect in the coming weeks? Bryant says, “My first step is to reach out to everybody and meet with each program. As we build a relationship, then we can build shared expectations. Programs will need unique support, so it will be important for me to learn what each program does and bring a DEI lens to that work.”

Want to say hi? Send Danielle a note at [email protected] or drop by her office at the Tyee site.