Urban Promise Academy

Grade & Subject: 6th, 7th, & 8th Grade- ELD
Texas Christian University: BS, Education with ESL certification
American University: MA- Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs
Teaching Credentials in Texas and California

I was born into a family of teachers.  My grandparents were both teachers, my aunt was a first grade teacher for 30 years, and my mom is in her last year of a 34 year middle school teaching career. However, it wasn’t until I traveled to India when I was 19 and volunteered at an orphanage and school that I truly realized what opportunities education could provide and the injustice of quality education not being equally available to all. My quest to open doors for and with young people had begun.

I had a professor, Dr. Cecilia Silva, her sophomore year at Texas Christian University who inspired me to go into ELL education. From the first class, she pushed me to expand my thinking and focus on why vulnerable populations––especially refugees and new immigrants––were so important to me, and figure out what roles I could play. Dr. Silva got me my first teaching job as a student teacher at the International Newcomer Academy, which turned into a full time teaching position.

Due to my love of diverse cultures, travel, and people, I have worked with diverse populations of young people from all around the world––middle schoolers from Somalia, Burundi, Myanmar, and Sierra Leone; elementary school kids from Mexico and Central America in a dual language program; and college-aged students from Saudi Arabia, China, and Brazil. I am thankful for the opportunity to help so many young people from many different backgrounds study and learn a language––from the week after they arrive in the US to when they walk across the stage at their high school or college graduations.

Oakland is in an exciting time of growth, change, diversity, and development. Young people are resilient and want to be proud of where they live. There is such a sense of pride and grit that derives from growing up in Oakland public schools. I look forward to interacting with my students every day––and I am encouraged by their energy, optimism, and their drive to achieve.  The stories of the students and their families in the newcomer program at UPA are both heartwarming and heart wrenching––but at the end of the day, they persevere.