Shalonda Abubakar Joins IUSD as Community Liaison for Black and African-American Families


Kate Hayashi

Shalonda Abubakar, the newest addition to IUSD’s community liaison team, is a resource for anyone in the Black and African-American community. She believes a positive mindset can hear everyone for success.

Shalonda Abubakar was introduced to the community as the new community liaison for Black and African-American families as of Nov. 13. According to the IUSD Black and African-American community webpage, her job includes promoting community and family engagement with an emphasis on a participatory empowerment approach and providing mechanisms that are responsive to cultural context and family needs.

Abubakar has over 16 years of professional experience offering support and services to people in diverse settings, including funding agencies, embassies, higher education and K-12 schools. 

“I collaborate with key school site staff and departments across IUSD to plan and offer tailored interventions for students and families….to plan for districtwide change related to social justice,” Abubakar said. “What that looks like is creation of safe spaces, curriculum changes and the integration of anti-racist and equity goals. I also advocate for parents and students’ needs and meet the IUSD community where they are.”

Community liaisons were previously selected based off of the top six languages represented in IUSD schools. However, anyone not in those groups can contact Erin Timberman, coordinator of parent/family engagement, directly for support. 

“We added the role for the Black and African-American community because it was, one, a part of the board resolution, but also, two, because it is a population within our community of IUSD that is underserved, and so we wanted to make sure we were incorporating all groups,” Timberman said.

Even if a family is not directly involved in working at the school, being engaged with their children and helping make decisions tends to help students do better in school, according to Timberman.

Black junior Makai Brown said that he could see himself utilizing Abubakar’s resources when he feels as though there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

“This school year there has been a noticeable increase of implementing issues regarding race in the curriculum,” Brown said. “I hope that this will be consistent and not just a one time thing due the climate as of late.”

Abubakar can be reached at her webpage, email or phone number, all available through the IUSD website. Her office hours are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“I enjoy helping people to see that there’s always hope and a way forward and that we just have to gather the courage and our resources and talents to make it happen,” Abubakar said. “I enjoy helping people realize we all have a superpower. We just have to adjust our vision to see it and put it to use.”