DSX (Design School X)

California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland: BFA- Jewelry/Metalsmithing
Mills College: MA- Educational Leadership
Stanford d.school: Edu-Fellow

I have been a designer and builder all my life, from BMX launch ramps to curriculum and schools. Building, thinking and doing creatively allowed me to survive school. I am indebted to my late father, Tony, and amazing mother, Susan, for modeling teaching and leadership in education for over 40 years and for allowing me the opportunity to find agency and purpose through being able to make anything, be and act creatively, and check my own learned biases to allow equity and social justice to grow in me.

Two people have inspired my work in education. In second grade, Denise, the one Black girl in my grade, told me her parents were pulling her out of our school because it wasn’t safe for her. This has stuck with me my whole life and is what primarily drives me to do the work I do. Many years later, Giselle, a colleague of color, asked me with pain in her heart, “David, when are you going to get your [White] people to get their shit together? What are you going to do about it?” The more I do this work, the less I can stand by and let systemic inequity like this persist. DSX is the result of this rage, love, and optimism.

I love using my power, privilege and my particular skill sets and values to bring out the awesome in people––students, educators, families. I keep doing it because it’s infectious, and sharing liberates me from the very system that has both privileged me and oppressed me. I am also deeply indebted to all the amazing and shaming teachers I’ve had throughout my learning journey. They have modeled to me what is great and harmful within the roles of teaching and leading.

DSX will educate legacy privilege and historically marginalized high school students residing under the beautiful cultural canopy of Oakland. Our focus will be on the rising demand for creative, cultural, and emotional literacies. I believe students and graduates possessing these literacies will liberate our humanity. There have been many obstacles in creating DSX, but the persistence has been worth it. We are building a new high school model that aims to inspire humanity for the rigors of the real world.