About  > Our Team

Illuminating a path that helps leaders change systems, so that all students – and all
communities – can flourish.

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We are CRSLI. Our founder – Dr. Muhammad A. Khalifa – became known far and wide for his work as a researcher and instructor, helping educational leaders reveal and address inequities that were holding minoritized students back, often overseen by even the most well-intentioned educators.

The Culturally Responsive School Leadership Institute (CRSLI) is an organization committed to helping educational leaders at all levels to humanize students and communities in schools. We believe that educational equity is an outgrowth of this humanization. We teach educational leaders how to promote school environments that allow minoritized students to feel comfortable and valued, and to have equitable access to all aspects of rigorous learning environments. Our commitment at CRSLI is to creating social justice in school environments through culturally responsive leadership.

Our Expert Team

We are all experts in equity and schools. We are all former school teachers, administrators, online Equity Audit designers, and education researchers who are deeply involved in research in the field of educational leadership and school equity. Our teams are also well-represented in the type of districts in which we have served: rural, suburban, and urban.

Core Team

An image of Muhammad Khalifa, a man with dark skin tone, a button up green checkered shirt, and a blue blazer, smiling and looking directly at the camera.
Muhammad Khalifa, PhD
President and CEO
An image of Katie Pekel, a woman with light skin tone and long blonde hair, wearing, a dark blue blazer and a light blue button up blouse, looming directly at the camera and smiling.
Katie Pekel, EdD
Co-Director CRSLA
An image of Darlinda Anderson, a woman with medium dark skin tone and long dark wavey hair wearing a floral blouse and hoop earrings, looking directly at the camera and smiling.
Darlinda Anderson
Senior Vice President
An image of Maggie Smith-Peterson, a woman with light skin tone, shoulder length blonde wavy hair, and glasses, wearing a pink blouse, looking directly at the camera and smiling.
Maggie Smith-Peterson, PhD
Director of Design & Learning
An image of Jessica Schrody, a woman with medium dark skin tone and long curly black hair tied back, wearing a bright pink blazer and a white shirt, a necklace and hoop earrings, looking directly at the camera and smiling.
Jessica Schrody
Marketing Administrative Specialist

Consulting Teams