I’m from a military family, so as a child I experienced several different school systems. I’ve worked in education since I graduated college because I believe mathematics is important, accessible and beneficial for everyone if we go about teaching it well. After serving as mathematics coordinator in Pflugerville Independent School District for over 5 years, I joined the Dana Center to work on K–12 mathematics education with even more of my heroes.
I was the first member of my family to complete any level of education after high school. When I graduated from college with my shiny new bachelor’s degree and Texas teachers’ certificate in hand, I had no idea where they would take me. I had been extremely fortunate to have had mathematics teachers who supported me through the years, and I wanted to help the students in my own classroom achieve their goals.
As a child living on a pig farm in Clifton, Texas, I was certainly no stranger to the idea of working hard. With such a small school district, I had my mother twice as teacher. She had a poster in her classroom (and used to tell students often), “Your I CAN is more important than your IQ.” I’ve learned firsthand over the years that hard work alone can be fruitless if you don’t also believe you can succeed.
I grew up in a low very income area of Texas, and I have seen first hand how education can break the cycle of poverty and forever change the trajectory of families. For 12 years, I have worked at Greater Texas Foundation, where I have the great honor of helping to improve postsecondary attainment and address inequities in our education systems across the state.
In my seven years of teaching social studies in the Bronx and East Austin, I learned about the intense complexities of setting up an environment where students can be their best selves and focus on learning. Too often, our most vulnerable students and families are underserved by education situations that do not meet their needs and do not allow them to become the successful adults they want to be.
My favorite 11th-grade teacher Elizabeth Aston-Sullivan insisted I take a fourth year of math in high school. She saw something in me that took me nine years to see for myself. Once I became an educator, amazing mentors helped and encouraged me—including my students, whose actions, emotions, and beliefs shaped my teaching.
I was a first-generation college student. Going to college changed my life, thanks to wonderful faculty and learning about disciplines I had no idea existed. For this reason, I have worked in higher education for almost my entire career. I have a deep respect for students and faculty, and I know that education changes lives.
As a proud and passionate reading educator, I know that literacy, more than any other skill, can change the trajectory of a life. I love teaching children to read and watching the world open up to them in new ways. I am grateful to work with amazing colleagues, AmeriCorps tutors, school partners, and community supporters who believe all our children have a right to become fully literate.
I come from a family of teachers and have always had a passion for learning. That passion has moved me in my career from an elementary classroom teacher, to a district math coach, to here at the Dana Center where I work with teachers and leaders. I enjoy my work helping teachers think deeply about how their students learn and about how they can grow as professionals.
I grew up in Bowie, Maryland and never questioned whether or not I would go to college—only where. After college, I redirected my career toward the language arts and education leadership. I now play with words the way I used to play with numbers and formulas. It’s a magical experience that I’ve shared with the many elementary students I taught and the new teachers I supervised, many who didn’t think they were writers or that they could teach young students to write.