Pranati “Pranoo” Kumar (aka School Mom) is a career changer from medicine to education. She began her journey in youth advocacy while working for a nonprofit in Jacksonville, FL. It was there that she found her passion for equity in education and move to NYC to learn about school systems that were implementing innovative teaching and practice. She joined a fellowship geared at career changers and began working at Success Academy Charter Network in 2012. While here, she founded, taught, labsite and coached in grades PreK-4th Special Education (including ICT and 12-1-1) in the South Bronx (BX2) and Harlem (H1). Her love for Early Childhood Education led her to create SA’s founding PreK curriculum. She also led the Assistant Teacher Development Program while at H1 (with a 95% retention rate) and was a two-time recipient of the SA Teacher Excellence Award in the network. From there, she moved across the country in 2017 and continued to work with Success- creating and piloting their 2018 Summer Internship Program for college students, between their junior and senior years, who were interested in teaching and advocacy, yet not currently studying education.
In 2018, she became a Founding Instructional Leader and Coach at Impact Public Schools- the first elementary charter in the Greater Seattle Area. While at Impact, she created a culturally relevant Kindergarten PBL curriculum that emphasized student identity and activism. She worked alongside Administration in creating a school design that ensured joyful rigor was at the forefront of learning. She also held the roles of New Teacher Coach, School Leadership Coach, and Kindergarten Grade Team Leader. During this time, Pranoo had the opportunity to serve as a panelist at The Gates Foundation US K-12 Programs Annual Meeting and share her experience as an educator and the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives in school settings.
Having recently moved again to South Florida, she has been reflecting on the process of stepping into the unknown, feeling challenged, and creating human connection along the way. An ever learning process! Leaning into the things she values so much: ethical leadership, trust and transparency. It’s also been about finding value in her work and who she is as an educator of color. With that in mind, she created her own education consulting experience, divHERse, serving as the Founder and Educational Leader/ Coach, focused on ensuring retention, voice and representation of women of color in ed leadership. Some of her projects include: serving as an Education and Training Specialist with Future Leaders Incubator (Brooklyn, NY) and SEL Curriculum Consultant with Inner City Innovators (West Palm Beach, FL).
Pranoo truly believes in the importance of a quality education being a right for all children as she and her family moved from India to the United States for this opportunity. She also believes in the power of community voice as the foundation for excellent learning. She is thankful for what the field of education has given her- a chance to listen, observe, learn, and grow from families, educators and most importantly children!
In her spare time she loves spending time outdoors with her husband, her Labradoodle Pumpernickel, friends and family (now only a drive away!), visiting museums focused on social activism exhibits, and watching documentaries.
‘03 University of Florida BS- Biology
‘09 University of Florida MS- Medical Sciences
Ross University School of Medicine
‘14 Touro College MS- Education and Special Education
‘19 Harvard School of Education- Culturally Responsive Literature Instruction
Certifications: Second Step SEL, Early Childhood Education, Trauma Informed Yoga for Youth