LA-Toya Washington Davis
Co-Founder/Executive Director of Education
Latoya is a performative and literary writer who is committed to education, youth empowerment, and community development.
She has a Master of Science and a Sixth-Year Certificate in Educational Leadership. She began her career as an English teacher working within Connecticut public schools, before joining the New York City Department of Education as an Assistant Principal. Her love and belief in how transformative and empowering literature can be, led her to work as an Associate Professor of English in Patterson, New Jersey, where she provided innovative instruction in writing, composition, and literature to collegiate students. Concerned with inequitable educational practices and lack of highly qualified teachers, she joined Relay Graduate School of Education as an Associate Professor of English Education, where she evaluated classroom instruction and oversaw the creation and execution of culturally diverse curriculums. Latoya has a deep understanding of the cultural and societal constructs that challenge youth. As a result of this understanding, and in partnership with Tenisi Davis, she designed a free 6 week summer intensive program for adolescents; which focused on self expression and critical thinking, fused with musical theatre and film. She brings 15 years of literary and creative writing experience with expertise in playwriting, poetry, historical fiction, and short stories. She is the co-playwright of Letters from the Sky, Timeline, and Walk in my Shoes. Inspired by the great-grandmother who signed her name with an ‘x’; the grandmother who rode the colored section on Georgia buses, and a mother well versed in colorism, Latoya’s writing often pays homage to the Black female experience, in America, as reflected throughout different historical time periods. She is a poet who has traveled nationally and internationally sharing her poems at a host of universities, cultural celebrations, and theatres including the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City, and the Todah Performance Art Theatre of Montego Bay, Jamaica. She was Connecticut’s ‘grand slam’ poetry champion for two years. Her poems have been featured in national poetry competitions including Women of the World Poetry Slam competition in Dallas, Texas and the Caribbean Performing Arts Festival in Jamaica.
"Growing up, my father had lots of books and novels laying around the house and when I was in the third grade I stumbled upon a Terry McMillan novel in our attic. This was my first exposure to the power of words, and the freedom of art and the places where art and self-expression can take the individual and audience."