International speaker and presenter, Dr. Howard E. Fields, III currently serves as an Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Adjunct Professor. He is the author of the new book, How to Achieve Educational Equity, co-founder of Black Males in Education St. Louis (BMESTL) and EduOpenings.com. As an educational thought leader, his perspective and focus on remaining student-centered, yet equity-focused, along with an innate ability to create and implement strategic solutions for organizations has made him a sought-out speaker, writer, and consultant.
Dr. Fields’ unapologetic leadership and authenticity played a key role in being recognized as the 2020 National Elementary Distinguished Principal from Missouri.
Dr. Fields started his career in urban education, serving as a coach, teacher, assistant principal, and principal.
In his first year as a principal, Dr. Fields was responsible for navigating what would become known as the Ferguson Unrest. Though the school was located down the street from where Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer sparking five months of contentious interactions between community members and law enforcement, Dr. Fields’ leadership was a driving factor in increasing his school’s Annual Performance Report (APR) by 200%. This was among the highest growth of any North St. Louis County public elementary school in 2015.
As a result, Dr. Fields was recognized by the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) in 2016 with the Exemplary New Principal Award. That same year, he was also named one of North (St. Louis) County Incorporated’s 30 Leaders in their Thirties.
In 2017, Dr. Fields was internationally recognized by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations for the innovativeness of his research. Accompanying his 132-page dissertation was a feature-length documentary on the topic of Missouri’s Student Transfer Law, a law that forced unaccredited school districts to pay the tuition and transportation costs for students who decided to transfer from their home district to attend an accredited school district in the same or adjoining district.
After nine years in urban education, Dr. Fields transitioned to a suburban school district in the fall of 2017. Within one year, Dr. Fields expanded elective course options for sixth grade students to include Computer Science, Drama, Art & Design, and Foreign Language, all with existing district staff. He also implemented Passion Days, a shared facilitation model that afforded students the opportunity to learn from staff and community passions prior to sharing their passions with their classmates. Dr. Fields consistently works closely with community advocacy groups to address inequalities in the areas of inclusion, student performance disparities, diversity, and systemic racism.
As a mentor for the Missouri Leadership Development System (MLDS) and facilitator for the Missouri Leadership Academy’s Outdoor Learning Experience (OLE), Dr. Fields shares his experience and perspective with current and aspiring administrators.
In 2018, Dr. Fields expanded his involvement in shaping the future of the education field by becoming an adjunct professor at Harris-Stowe State University, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in St. Louis, MO.
In 2019, Dr. Fields co-founded the organization Black Males in Education St. Louis (BMESTL) to support, develop, connect, mentor, and empower current and future educators of color. Later that year, he was inducted into the first class of the Mehlville School District Alumni Hall of Fame.
Dr. Fields has authored several articles and has been highlighted in national publications such as Education Week and Principal Leadership, and consistently shares his knowledge and expertise while presenting both regionally and nationally.
In February of 2020, Dr. Fields co-founded the inaugural State of Black Educators Symposium (#SBE20), an event created to increase the recruiting, support, mentoring, and development of Black educators. With over 1,400 in-person registrants and an abundance of support from schools, universities, nonprofits, and businesses, The State of Black Educators Symposium returned in 2021 (#SBE21). Though the format had changed from in-person to a virtual experience, close to 1,900 registrants experienced a fantastic two-day educational conference with local and national speakers.
Dr. Fields plans to continue to advocate for the well-being of students and staff while also empowering them to be their authentic selves. His voice and influence in disrupting educational structures and systems that perpetuate inequities will remain a pillar of his leadership.
Follow Dr. Fields on Twitter at @HeFields3 or on LinkedIn at Dr. Howard E. Fields III