Who I Coach:
- Aurum Preparatory Academy
- Oakland SOL Coach
Wesleyan University: BA
Bread Loaf School of English: MA- English
Harvard University: Ed.M- Educational Administration
Harvard University: Ed.L.D.- Education Leadership
My father was the person who most influenced my career choice. He helped inculcate in me a desire to make a difference in the world and I thought education was one of the best ways to do this. My work is all about people––I love building relationships and I am passionate about helping to improve the experiences and outcomes for children, particularly those who have been the least well served traditionally.
This commitment to finding a way to improve the world and work towards social justice began at an early age. A formative experience for me was the contrast between my middle school at a progressive, mixed-age, project-based learning school that had interdisciplinary thematic year-long areas of study, and my experience at a traditional public high school. To this day, I remember more of what I learned in middle school than in high school. For all of sixth grade, we studied African American history with the first African American teacher that I had ever had. These disparate experiences shaped my perspective as I began my career in education.
Because I knew there were better alternatives to the high school experience that I had, my career focus has been on secondary schools. As a teacher, I taught mostly high school and college English, as well as some art classes over the years. My current role is the Director of Strategic Projects and Innovation for Pivot Learning where I primarily work with districts and schools to rethink their secondary schools. I am also designing an apprenticeship-based higher education model.
I’m most proud of my leadership role in the small schools movement. I have helped many small schools open across the country, including the two that I led as founding principal––Life Academy and ARISE High School, both in Oakland. I am also the co-author of the book Small Schools Big Ideas: The Essential Guide to Successful School Transformation. There is a great history of community-focused small schools here in Oakland, and there are a lot of great and committed people pushing the movement forward.