As Women’s Leadership Today attended City Year Philadelphia’s recent Women’s Leadership Luncheon centered on diversity in the city’s business community, we had the honor of hearing from Tawana Frisby, an inspirational emerging woman leader. Currently serving as a Student Success Coach Team Leader at Avery D. Harrington School, Tawana opened up the luncheon sharing her journey which embodies the power of representation and the importance of community-focused education.
City Year is an AmeriCorps program working to bridge equity gaps in under-resourced schools across 29 U.S. cities. Corps members commit to a year of service as Student Success Coaches (SSCs), tutoring, mentoring and leading after-school programs. City Year Philadelphia is leading the way nationally in promoting women leaders. During their year of service, Tawana and other SSCs gain invaluable experience in leadership, community building, communication, project management and cultural competency. These skills translate to future success in a variety of fields, including education, public policy, nonprofits, government, law, medicine, and many more.
Tawana’s City Year journey began years earlier as a student at Mitchell Elementary, where she experienced the positive influence of City Year from 4th to 7th grade. These impressive near-peer mentors provided academic and social-emotional support that uplifted Tawana during her early years. Representation matters, especially for young girls, and seeing women leaders guide her school experience fueled her curiosity for education and made learning itself the reward.
After graduating high school in her Philadelphia community, Tawana came full circle, returning to serve as a City Year Student Success Coach at Harrington Elementary. Now in an elevated Team Leader role, Tawana manages a diverse team of SSCs deployed throughout the elementary classrooms. She explained the immense reward of giving back while paying forward the mentorship that impacted her so significantly.
Tawana shared her favorite part of being a Team Leader is “being able to share my experiences from my first service year and help Student Success Coaches be effective, kind, and empathetic mentors and tutors.” City Year SSCs focus on attendance, behavior, coursework and more to help students and teachers. Tawana also explained the pride in continuing her education, working towards an Elementary Education degree with the aim to continue teaching after her City Year service.
Tawana Frisby represents the promising potential of emerging women leaders driving community impact. Her passion shined as she shared her story, exemplifying City Year’s unique model. By elevating student voices like Tawana’s and scaling approaches born from those lived experiences, they are building connections and capacity to empower sustainable change from within. Tawana is the change she wants to see through her service leadership and commitment to increasing access and inclusion in Philadelphia education. Her journey speaks volumes to the power of investing in girls’ education and demonstrates the need for strong women role models visible in all spaces, especially the classroom. Tawana Frisby surely is one to watch as she continues to open doors for the next generation of women trailblazers.
About City Year
City Year works to expand educational equity for students furthest from opportunity and develop diverse leaders through national service. Learn more about how we and our partners are reimagining what schools can be for students and the adults who work with them: http://www.cityyear.org/philadelphia, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.