Emmanuel Awoyelu: Setting an Example in Leadership and Education
Leadership is about setting an example and leading people to a goal without making excuses. As an assistant headteacher and Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at Eastbury Community School, Emmanuel Awoyelu understands the importance of being one of the best teachers in the school and setting a great example for others. But leadership is also about being unapologetic in following your vision, even if not everyone believes in or understands it. It’s important to convince people that what you’re trying to achieve is worth pursuing, and not to expect everyone to be your friend in the process. For Emmanuel, leadership is so much more than just how you speak to people; it’s about taking action and leading people to the greater good.
Emmanuel Awoyelu has been working in education for 9 years, during which he has developed youth programs across London. He is a frequent speaker, trainer, and writer on educational topics, particularly around the topics of inclusive practice, pastoral care, and behavior. Passionate about changing the narrative for disadvantaged young people, Emmanuel plays a big part in helping The Reach Out Project achieve its objective. The Reach Out Project is a mentoring program for inner-city London boys, aiming to open up London as a city of opportunity for the youth and help each young person realize their potential regardless of their background or circumstance.
Emmanuel’s journey as a teacher hasn’t always been smooth. Having suffered negative experiences early on in his education, including two school exclusions, he never imagined that teaching would be his calling. However, an opportunity at a school where he used to deliver sessions as a football coach changed everything. What started as a two-week fill-in turned into five months, and at the end of it, Emmanuel realized that the education space is where he was meant to be. He underwent training as a teaching assistant and later as a SENCO, and eventually grew into the position he is in today.
As a black leader in the education profession, Emmanuel is acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with his role. He understands that his presence and influence could potentially have an effect on children, staff, and community members who were previously excluded. He considers it an honor to represent his community and be part of a small yet powerful group of black senior educators. Emmanuel recognizes that representation matters deeply, and he takes on his role with pride.
Emmanuel’s experience with grief has also shaped his outlook