Who I Coach: Santa Fe Community Action Network Coach
Syracuse University: BA- Education Policy
Harvard: EdM- School Leadership
I had a strong sense of justice instilled in me from an early age. My grandfather was the publisher of a local newspaper in eastern Tennessee. I grew up reading his stories and editorials about supporting my mom’s high school to become one of the first schools in the nation to be integrated. As a result of this conflict, my mom’s high school was bombed, and my grandfather’s house was also targeted by the KKK. Every time we visited him, I would imagine the hole the dynamite blew in his front yard. I see my work today as an extension of these family values in support of educational opportunity and equity.
Another major event that influenced my commitment to education was the Rodney King riots in the spring of 1992. The prior fall I had the opportunity to take a course called Race and Ethnicity in the US. This class gave me intellectual and academic language to understand issues of systemic oppression and power and privilege that I had observed growing up. The injustice of the King verdict and the resultant demonstration of frustration through the riots rocked me. With a new language to understand these issues, I came to believe in education as the long term strategy to shift the reality of racial inequality in our world.
Other experiences have shaped my vision for the future of public education in Oakland. Whether it’s deepening my capacity for cross cultural practice by serving as Peace corps volunteer in Kazakhstan, or launching Coliseum College Prep Academy and seeing it grow to be one of the leading high schools in the city, there is a lot to be hopeful for in this city. The incredible talent and energy of the educators in Oakland who are committed to improving outcomes for students is palpable.
In my work now, my goal is to develop best practice school designs with a strong emphasis on a human capital plan to implement them. I believe we have to push the envelope on what is possible in education and fight for students who have been historically underserved. The students and families I have worked with over the years continue to drive me to do better and improve on what I’ve been able to do for them.