Kala Jones

Degree: Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning

School: School of Education and Human Development

College: College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Kala Jones learned early on from her mother, a community service advocate and active member in the education field, that service to others is crucial. As a former high school teacher in Miami, Kala’s love for her students and her experiences as a Black student took her back to the classroom to earn a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning.

Under the guidance of Maria Lovett and James Burns, Kala conducted research looking at what impacts specifically black and brown students’ lives, and continue to affect them after graduation.

Kala’s research revealed instances of slow violence, minute acts of oppression that create generational effects. Kala, along with co-researchers, identified two prevalent acts of slow violence: lack of resources and access to opportunities. Based on these identifiers, Kala and her co-researchers created a social action plan they submitted to a school's student government association in the hopes the plan will lessen two major school-specific slow violence acts: lack of resources and access to post-graduate opportunities and assistance. The plan was presented to the Education Standards Advisory Committee. Kala hopes to get Miami-Dade County Public Schools' attention and bring to light certain injustices occurring in schools with majority Black and Latino students.

While she attended school full time and conducted research, Kala also worked as a college advisor and took care of her mother, who was diagnosed with cancer, as well as her grandparents. After graduation, Kala plans to continue to bring awareness to slow violence and fight (via academia and policy) to help lessen it in urban schools across the country.

By Christine Calvo
Junior Account Manager
College of Arts, Sciences & Education