Recipient of the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award, the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence and the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, Principal Baruti Kafele is ON FIRE! He has distinguished himself as an award-winning educator, an internationally-renowned speaker and a best-selling author.
As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, Principal Kafele was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. As a middle and high school principal, he led the transformation of four different urban New Jersey schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national acclaim, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it as one of America’s best high schools.
An internationally-renowned education speaker and consultant, Principal Kafele is one of the most sought-after speakers for transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations in America. A versatile speaker, he regularly conducts conference keynote addresses, professional development workshops, parental engagement seminars and “hard-hitting, no-nonsense” male empowerment meetings. He works with hundreds of schools and districts to assist them with closing what he coined, the “attitude gap” – the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not.
A best-selling author, Principal Kafele is a leading authority on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom and school leadership development. In addition to writing several professional articles on these topics for popular education journals, he is the author of the best-selling books, Closing the Attitude Gap and Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life. His newest title, The Principal 50: Critical Leadership Questions for Inspiring School-wide Excellence is forthcoming in March, 2015.
Driven to inspire at-risk male students throughout America to strive to maximize their potential, Principal Kafele says his most important work is a You Tube video series he created entitled: Message to Your Son, which is a series of 150 short “selfie” videos where he speaks directly to male students of all ages and ethnicities. His messages include: attitude, goal setting, planning, purpose, vision, determination, self-esteem, self-image, decision-making, school behavior, bullying, distractions, temptations and so much more in an effort to motivate, educate and empower them for success.
Principal Kafele is married to his wife Kimberley, and is the father of their three children, Baruti, Jabari and Kibriya. He earned his B.S. degree in Management Science/Marketing from Kean University and his M.A. degree in Educational Administration from New Jersey City University. He is the recipient of over one hundred educational, professional and community awards which include the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaiming February 8, 1998 as Baruti Kafele Day.