North Oakland Community Charter School

Grade & Subject: K through 8- Special Education
The George Washington University: BA- Psychology
Loyola Marymount University: MA- Special Education & Teaching

My high school economics teacher Ms. Terhar was instrumental in my growth and social development in high school. She was my teacher at a time when school was not the most important thing on my mind, and she truly understood that factors outside school were shaping my ability to be a student. She created a safe place for me to be vulnerable and let those feelings be important, and also kept me on track academically and never gave up on me. She inspired me to place great importance on social emotional support and safety with my students. I am continually trying to emulate the lessons she taught me.

My dedication to my work as a Special Education Program Specialist is grounded in my belief that having access to a transformative education should not be a privilege given only to some. A high quality education is a right that should be available to all students, including those with language needs, social emotional challenges, or learning and behavior disabilities. Giving students access to support across all of these areas will only empower them to lead their own learning and carve a unique path for themselves.

I am most proud of the relationships I have built with families and the levels of support I am able to provide to students because of those relationships. Having the trust of parents is key to ensuring that they know that my recommendations are always in the best interest of their child. Historically, many families have not felt supported by schools through the special education process, so when families tell me they finally feel heard I am motivated to build out the best programs I can for the children who need it most.

Developing a long term model of inclusion for our school gets me excited. I look forward to seeing the looks on my students’ faces when they accomplish something they didn’t know they could do. Making sure that all of my students have at least one of those “a-ha” moments every day is what moves me to do better for them, and it gives me hope for the future of public education in Oakland.