Leaders Learning from Leaders Series

September 20th, 2023

Episode 3: A Conversation with Dr. Luvelle Brown

Superintendent of Ithaca Central School District, NY

Episode Transcript

Episode Summary

About Dr. Luvelle Brown

Dr. Luvelle Brown is a highly accomplished educator with a diverse background in various educational roles. He currently serves as the Superintendent of the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) in Ithaca, New York, where he has overseen remarkable achievements during his tenure. Recognized as the 2017 New York State Superintendent of the Year, Luvelle Brown has received numerous accolades for his contributions to education.

Among his many honors, Dr. Brown was acknowledged by TrustED as one of the nation’s foremost educators and thought leaders. In 2022, he was honored with the prestigious Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award. His recognition extends to the National School Boards Association, which named him a “20-to-Watch” and a “Difference Maker.” Dr. Brown has also been honored with awards such as the Center for Digital Education Top 30 Award and the eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award in 2014. His innovative leadership earned him a place among the nation’s top 100 Innovative Superintendents, and he was invited to speak at President Barack Obama’s 1st National Superintendent Summit at the White House.

Apart from his educational roles, Luvelle Brown serves as an adjunct faculty member at SUNY Cortland and St. John Fisher College in New York. He is actively engaged in his community, having been recognized as the Tompkins County Distinguished Citizen in spring 2019. His community involvement includes serving as a term trustee at Ithaca College, a member of the Tompkins County Area Development Board, and a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He also co-founded the nationally acclaimed 100 Black Men of Central Virginia.


In this episode of Leaders Learning from Leaders, host Steve Barkley interviews Dr. Luvelle Brown, the superintendent of Ithaca School District in New York State and author of “Culture of Love: Cultivating a Positive and Transformational Organizational Culture.” Dr. Brown is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in education.

The episode begins with an introduction of the guest, Dr. Luvelle Brown, who shares his background and passion for creating a more inclusive and loving educational environment. He highlights the unique characteristics of Ithaca, New York, a diverse and vibrant town known for its educational institutions.

Key Topics Discussed in the Episode:

  1. Ithaca School District’s Success: Dr. Brown discusses the significant improvements and successes achieved during his tenure as the superintendent of Ithaca School District. These include a rise in the graduation rate, elimination of achievement gaps, increased participation in extracurricular activities, and recognition for diverse enrollment in high-level academic courses.
  2. Sense of Urgency: Dr. Brown emphasizes the importance of leaders feeling a sense of urgency when it comes to meeting the needs of young people. He describes how this sense of urgency has driven positive change in Ithaca.
  3. Student-Centered and Equity-Focused Education: Dr. Brown discusses his involvement in the Learning 2025 National Commission on Student-Centered Equity-Focused Education, highlighting the importance of including students in decision-making and curriculum development. He emphasizes that such initiatives benefit all students.
  4. Diversity Symposium of Thought Leaders: Dr. Brown talks about his role in organizing the Diversity Symposium of Thought Leaders, an event focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. He underscores the need to create access and opportunities for everyone, regardless of their identities.
  5. Culture of Love in Education: Dr. Brown delves into the concept of a “culture of love” in education, emphasizing that it goes beyond emotional connections and includes principles like patience, trust, caring, forgiveness, and commitment. He discusses the importance of incorporating these principles into school practices and policies.
  6. Leadership as a Way of Being: Dr. Brown challenges the notion that leadership is solely defined by titles. He believes that leadership is a way of thinking, working, and living that involves facilitating change and inclusivity. He encourages educators to embrace an authentic journey toward creating positive change in education.
  7. Inspiration for the Future: Dr. Brown draws inspiration from his ancestors and their fight for a better future. He hopes to inspire others to continue the work of creating an inclusive and equitable educational system.

Listeners are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Luvelle Brown via email at luvelleb@gmail.com to connect. Listeners can also learn more about Dr. Brown and his work by visiting his website: https://luvellebrown.com/ This episode offers valuable insights into the importance of fostering a culture of love, equity, and inclusion in education and highlights Dr. Brown’s commitment to creating a better educational future for all students.

Episode Highlights


Valuing Action Over Results

Podcast Highlight – 1:38 mins


What is a Leader?

Podcast Highlight – 2:17 mins

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