Max Freedman is a reporter, producer, and co-host of School Colors. He created School Colors with Mark Winston Griffith, a veteran community organizer and the editor of Brooklyn Deep. After four years of research and reporting, the first season premiered in 2019 to critical acclaim. He is thrilled to publish Season 2 through NPR’s Code Switch.Freedman is also one of the creators of Unsettled, a long-running independent podcast about Israel-Palestine and the Jewish diaspora. For Unsettled, he most recently reported and produced “The Birthday Party,” an immersive narrative series about Palestinian-Jewish solidarity work in the occupied West Bank. In the early weeks of COVID-19, he produced Making the Call, a weekly show about medical ethics and the pandemic for Endeavor Content. 

Before becoming a journalist, Freedman was a facilitator with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, adjunct faculty at Pratt Institute and a senior educator at the New-York Historical Society, where he created an enrichment program for grades 4-8 using musicals to teach American history.He holds a B.A. in theater from Northwestern University, and an M.S. in design and urban ecologies from Parsons School of Design. His work on School Colors Season 2 was supported by the Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University.

Mark Winston Griffith is the creator, host and writer of School Colors along with Max Freedman. Griffith is a third-generation resident of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Until April 2022, he was the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center, a Black-led community organizing group based in Central Brooklyn that he co-founded in 2011. His parents’ organizing in Central Brooklyn and authorship of a report on Community School District 16 inspired him to co-create School Colors.

While at Brooklyn Movement Center, Griffith created Brooklyn Deep, a citizen journalism initiative that chronicles neighborhood change in Central Brooklyn. He has served as an adjunct professor of urban reporting at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, and has been a board member of The City news site, City Limits Magazine and Free Speech TV.

Griffith is an enthusiastic parent of two teenage boys and has navigated the public, private and charter school systems.

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Show Highlights

The power of storytelling as a vehicle for making change happen.
Looking through a leadership lens of equity and inequity that exists in our educational system.
Gain a keen sense of how race and gentrification impacts the conversation about education.
Be a curious leader by engaging in “real conversations” to avoid ill-conceived assumptions.
Examples of how the schools are conditioned by external forces.
Stories of principal development and the benefit of community resources.
The dangers of perception, zone preference and how it impacts families.

“We spend so much time in School Colors thinking about the problems, looking at what’s going wrong and the barriers. To be quite frank, we don’t spend enough time with kids and the very subject of the things that we’re talking about. In spending that little time with those kids, it brought home to me what this was all about in the first place. These are not subjects or like broken people. These are vibrant human beings.”

- Mark Winston Griffith

Erika Horsley

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