Sharif El-Mekki is the CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development, which he founded to create a national pipeline to attract, develop, support and empower Black teachers to help Black children liberate themselves, their families, and ultimately, society. As the son of two Black Panther Party members and the cousin of two more, Sharif had a strong desire to address issues relating to social and racial justice, equity, and educational opportunities. After almost a decade as a teacher, Sharif became a middle school principal, where his teams significantly raised student achievement and created nurturing student-centered learning environments.
Sharif is also the founder of The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, served as one of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s inaugural group of Principal Ambassadors, is a contributor to the Philly's 7th award blog, and is a co-host of the 8 Black Hands education podcast. Sharif received a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and a master’s degree and principal certification from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.