A true leader of the Inland Empire

Dr. Ayanna Balogun is a CSUSB alumnus who has made a huge impact on the Inland Empire and has risen over and beyond for the community. She has persevered through hardships and adversity and has managed to become a success. Starting at Chaffey community college she then transferred to CSUSB receiving her Bachelor of liberal arts, to eventually getting her Ph.D. from the Harvard University Extension School.  

Photo by Ayana Balogun

Today she is the principal of Warner Elementary. I first met her s my first-grade teacher at Curtis Elementary in Rialto, Ca. As a little Black girl, she always instilled in me to get educated and stay determined no matter what life throws at you. She made sure to always let me know that my black is beautiful, to be empowered and to give back to the community.  Putting students first has always been her main priority. Throughout any endeavor with school, she has always made sure to be there for me.  

Giving back to the community is one of the many characteristics that makes her a great person. She has a nonprofit organization Emerging Beauty Inc which focuses on empowering black women in the community. A Queens meeting was an event held March 12, 2022. The event was held not only to honor queens of the community who have given back but to also bring black women of all ages in the Inland Empire to celebrate one another.

Dr. Balogun said, “The goal of A Queens meeting was to celebrate women, create a united base, help women empower themselves from within and motivate them to utilize their talents, use their power to impact and empower others in the community and broader society. In total, 180 women came to the event and celebrated with one another.  Everyone wore purple, black, and gold. This event brought Black women from all different backgrounds together for a great cause.”

The goal is to expand Emerging Beauty Inc and to go even further with helping the community. She plans on having an Inland Empire black women’s collective. The women of the collective will help to push Black women who are campaigning politically in the community. Putting on workshops to help black women of the community build their credit and become successful entrepreneurs. Balogun is also the director of the Bany program which is geared toward Black middle school girls of the Fontana school district. The Bany program helps to build confidence for young black girls in the community. The program teaches young black girls self-love and how to create certain cool experiments at home, such as lips gloss and lotions. She makes learning science cool and appealing to young Black girls with an urban twist.  

She helped write Who We Are and How We Learn.  The book’s focus is Educational Engagement and Justice for Diverse Learners serves as an educational program handbook for understanding the complexities of student engagement and providing access and justice for learners, with an emphasis on students with diverse backgrounds. Points from the book include helping to frame students’ educational justice through social as well as cultural views, the role of cultural capital from home and school settings, and the influence of the funds of knowledge. 

The material addresses race and culture as they pertain to curriculum, instruction, and performance of all students, with a focus on African American and Latinx students. It examines social class and identity, social and cultural dimensions of family involvement as a predictor of student engagement, adaptations for English learners, and writing as a way to capture student voices. This book you can purchase on Amazon is great for students of all ages and backgrounds.

Dr. Ayanna wears many different hats, she is also a great mother to her two children. Her son graduated from Brigham Young University of Utah with his masters and her daughter is a Senior this year at Summit high school in Fontana and is excited to attend a Historically Black college in the fall. Her efforts and achievements have not gone unnoticed. She is a staple in the community. She has had success in a lot of her students’ past and present. As a black woman of the community, she is such an inspiration to all. Her life journey has not been easy. Coming from humble beginnings she has persevered through it all and came out on top. Her mother recently passed away and she has continued to walk in her legacy and in her purpose. She is the epitome of a strong Black woman and an outstanding leader of our community.

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