Ripple Academy

University of Maryland, College Park: BA- Communications
University of Notre Dame: Masters- Educational Leadership

I was an elementary student in Washington DC in the early–mid-80s, during the height of the crack epidemic. The DC public schools were in disrepair, and my parents––despite being recent immigrants––sought a better education for my brother and me. They used a Silver Spring, MD address to enroll us at Woodland Elementary in Montgomery County, MD. Each morning for two years, my brother and I ducked in the back of my father’s cab as we crossed over the DC border into Maryland. The notion of stealing an education is indelibly imprinted in my mind, but no one should have to “steal” an education––everyone should be entitled to access an excellent education. I work for access and excellence, so that families don’t have to scheme for a good education.

Much of my classroom persona as a teacher is patterned after Mrs. Marilyn Fivozinsky, my 8th Grade math teacher. I will forever be grateful to her for believing in my ability to reach academic heights that I didn’t realize were possible for myself. She supported me throughout a summer enrichment program that helped me transition into the honors track at my middle school, altering my High School course of study. Mrs. Fivo, as we called her, made learning fun and showed compassion to all students. She taught me the incredible impact a teacher could have on students.

I firmly believe that learning is maximized when students are actively engaged in the process. Each day provides me another opportunity to champion for the students entrusted to my care. I am grateful for the opportunity to partner with our entire community to support students, teachers, parents and staff as they strive to be the best versions of themselves. This commitment to continual improvement, a shared growth mindset drives me each day. I am driven to be better so as to better serve and support the stakeholders in our community.

Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” The students at the heart of our work represent the future of Oakland, and it is paramount that we provide them an education that forms their minds to be critical thinkers and their hearts to be socially aware and responsive citizens. These new approaches to holistic formation have me excited and hopeful for a bright future for Oakland.