By: Pranati (Pranoo) Kumar
My name is Pranoo Kumar Skomra and I am the proud daughter of Konkani Indian immigrants, a passionate eduGator, and an activist committed to equity in education. I live in Juno Beach, Florida with my husband, Dr. Paul Skomra, our 4 month old “munni” Rohini Ray Skomra, and our 3 year old Labradoodle Pumpernickel. We have lived in the area for about 2 years! My favorite activity these days is our “Family Sunday Tradition” which includes going for a long beach walk, grabbing coffee and breakfast outdoors and catching up on connectedness.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to live here for many reasons including: the close proximity to our families, the year round sunshine and ability to be outdoors, and the community we have found and cherished over the years. Prior to moving here, we lived in New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle so being able to live here where our families are as close as 5 minutes away to 4 hours away is such a blessing! Moving to a new space always comes with the desire to find your community, your people. Upon moving here, I was able to meet like-minded people in education almost immediately through the power of social media and technology. Those with a commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (DEIA) work in the PreK-12 space, for both adults and children.
“My goal is to ensure that there is voice, representation and retention of Women of the Global Majority in education leadership, thus providing opportunities for children to see themselves in the very place we consider sacred and safe- our schools.”
My previous experiences as an elementary teacher, coach and founder of a number of school systems and programs on the East and West Coast have led me to my current adventures. Most recently I created my own education consulting experience, divHERse– serving as the Founder and Education Leader/ Coach. divHERse was created out of personal experiences of tokenism and oppression as a Woman of Color in the educational space. My goal is to ensure that there is voice, representation and retention of Women of the Global Majority in education leadership, thus providing opportunities for children to see themselves in the very place we consider sacred and safe- our schools. Some of my projects include: serving as an Education and Training Specialist with Future Leaders Incubator (NYC), Pre-K Design Consultant with Zeta Charter Schools (Bronx), SEL Curriculum Consultant with Inner City Innovators (WPB), Education Specialist with the MaySea Movement Education Project (Cangrejo, Nicaragua) and Curriculum Program Manager at Path to College (WPB). While consulting has granted me the opportunity to travel, listen, learn and grow, my passion has always been focused on early childhood education and empowering spaces for learning through critical literacy. Thus came upon another adventure that I recently founded, Rohi’s Readery! Rohi’s Readery is a virtual and soon-to-be storefront Children’s Bookstore and Learning Center committed to DEIA practices through children’s books and accessibility for all.
I believe in the importance of an authentic liberating educational experience as my family experienced racial inequity during my schooling. It impacted my self-worth, my view of my identity or lack thereof, and my perception of what I could be. Because of this, my classroom library has always been the heart of our room. Community centered practice has been the driving force of the content and actions of my work. Where books are sprawled across the room and where rigorous and engaging conversations about the deeper meanings of texts take place.
“Communities deserve spaces to honor, celebrate and acknowledge the history of the past and future.”
My goal is to take my passion from highlighting inclusive identity-driven children’s books outside of the classroom walls. Rohi’s Readery serves as a space where we as adults and children are co-constructors of learning and knowledge. An opportunity to cultivate the genius that is already within our littlest ones. From live read alouds to book clubs, family literacy support, highlighting authors of the Global Majority, and ultimately, a space to unapologetically celebrate the beauty and diversity of our children. Communities deserve spaces to honor, celebrate and acknowledge the history of the past and future. Native American author and activist Vine Deloria Jr. once stated, “Every society needs sacred places. A society that cannot remember its past and honor it, is in peril of losing its soul.” My hope is that this virtual and in- store space will feel like a sacred place for our children- including my daughter. Currently I can be contacted via Social Media and email for Rohi’s Readery services including literacy resources, virtual and in-person Read Aloud events, workshops and more!