Life Academy of Health and Bioscience

Grade & Subject: 9th Grade- English & LLI Reading Intervention
University of Southern California: BA- English Literature
Loyola Marymount University: MA- Urban Education, Literacy

While an undergrad at USC, I was thinking of going into nonprofit or social work, when I started mentoring a fourth grade girl named Raquel. She complained a lot about school and her teachers, and I couldn’t understand her because I had always loved school. But when I began working in the schools in Los Angeles, I quickly saw the discrepancy between her education and my public school education back in Chicago. Much of my work today is motivated by the inequity I saw Raquel experience.

After my first year of teaching, I achieved even greater clarity about the role I wanted to play in my students’ education and the communities I wanted to work in. In the Spring of that year, one of my boys was unjustly suspended from school and I refused to allow this. I stood together with him and his mother and we raised our voices. We shared a deep understanding of our values and we wore our integrity on our sleeves. This young man, Jody, not only helped me find my voice on behalf of my students, but also taught me what integrity looked and sounded like, and how to teach with and model integrity each day for my students.

Outside the classroom I’m also a yoga teacher in Oakland. This balances me and has informed my classroom practice a lot, bringing even more calmness into my daily space. I’m interested in becoming involved in educational technology or foundation work. I would also love to work in outdoor education since there is nothing better than getting outside with students.

Teaching at Life Academy motivates me endlessly. The parents, teachers, and students work together to really provide a beautiful home for students as both learners and humans, and it is an honor to work there. I have so much admiration for the students I get to work with. Every single one of them encourages me to do better, and I love seeing them walk across the stage with their high school diplomas in hand with so many opportunities ahead of them.