Matthew Hickson

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Matt (he/him) is the 2016 Durham Public Schools Beginning Teacher of the Year, a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School and holds a Masters in Education Leadership from NC State University. He started his path to working toward education equity as a teenager volunteering to register voters on the west side of Charlotte, North Carolina. After years of witnessing the deep social and economic inequities of our state and nation as an activist, he went to work as a teacher at Neal Middle School in East Durham. He is now an assistant principal in Durham Public Schools and a frequent public presenter for area schools and non-profits.


Jacqui Batts

Director of Community Partnerships

Jacqui (she/her) is an English teacher at Northern Durham High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She received AIG certification from Duke University. In her previous work as an 8th grade teacher at Neal Middle School, she founded a team for community engagement and led volunteer efforts to aid local organizations. Jacqui believes that our students are part of powerful communities of leaders. She is committed to empowering students and communities to lead in fighting for equitable education outcomes for all students. She will be relocating to Washington, D.C. in the following school year and continue to work with us in an advisory capacity.


Asher Skeen

Youth Coordinator

Asher (he/they) is a 2017 graduate of Durham Public Schools.  After facing discriminatory actions from a faculty member during his senior year, he connected with BCSU to lead a training for his school staff on safer school environments for LGBTQ students.  He stayed involved after graduation, assisting in general operations and co-leading the Youth Leadership Council.  Asher works as an Operations Fellow for the Southern Vision Alliance, as well as writing, performing, and recording music as a singer songwriter.  He can often be found performing his original music in different venues around the Triangle.