Farrell Artis, Consultant & TrainerAs the world of urban education faces new and daunting challenges, it’s time for educators to be equipped and empowered to deal with real issues that arise. Farrell Artis brings to the world of urban education exactly what it needs: relevant, reality-based training and staff development services. Why? Because he’s been there...

Although a higher performing product of the Texas public school system (and even a star member of a state semi-finals basketball team), he also became linked to another world of drugs, violence (which he mentions in his new book, Guys Let’s Keep It Real) and other issues that plague so many young people today. So he understands the youth perspective, again because he’s been there.

His first job at Father Flanagan’s Girls and Boys Town in Omaha, NE gave him grass roots experience in working with students who present academic/behavioral challenges. As a Head Coach of three sports teams as well as a Crisis Interventionist, he states, “De-escalating intense situations was the norm. Profanity and projectiles were par for the course.”

After six years at Wegner Middle School, he moved to the National Training Center as a trainer and consultant. “Nothing in my career has proved more valuable than working with schools in over 30 states. I literally learned how school systems function - Dallas, Chicago, Hartford, Houston - they all have distinct systemic cultures. Schools that serve students from native backgrounds in South Dakota and Minnesota, rural schools in Wyoming and Montana, alternative schools, charter schools... I’ve worked with all of them. It taught me that quality staff development requires knowledge of systems - you can’t force what doesn’t fit.”

Knowledgeable is one of the most common descriptors his participants use in describing him as a trainer /consultant. “A mentor of mine, Thomas Dowd, once told me that experience is not enough. Training without in-depth knowledge of research and theories is like sailing without a compass, as DaVinci put it.” And Farrell’s greatest asset may be that as an avid student of educational pedagogy, he has found a way to take what’s theoretical and make it plain/practical for audiences.

His heart? “I served in Omaha Public Schools for two years with a population that was extremely at-risk. I saw students and families struggle in the educational process, and I saw educators struggling to educate them. My passion was fanned, and my mission is to provide urban educators with effective tools to help them.”

His hurts? “In my work as a consultant with the Department of Education in Harris County, I witnessed what happens to students when we as educators face difficulty with teaching them to manage their own behavior and someone has to control the students. Police presence, handcuffs and searches all say to children that you all are so dangerous that you have to be contained. Student achievement tends to suffer and that bothers me. I want to see Black students, Hispanic students, all students achieve and go on toward personal success.”

His hopes? “I’ve worked with children and families in housing projects... I’ve worked with men and women in the penal system... I’ve seen the outcomes of deferred dreams. I hope to see urban education impact lives in such a way that we move from dreams deferred to dreams realized! As Malcolm X stated, ‘Education is the passport to the future.’”