Education was not always my forte. As a child growing up in Rhode Island, I struggled in school as I was unmotivated and lacked the confidence necessary to persist through challenging work. I was, however, fortunate to grow up in a privileged household where I always received a top notch education—and tutoring when I struggled—so that I could attend college and discover my true passion, teaching. Given the bubble in which I grew up, I never realized the opportunity and equity gaps that existed in the outside world. I first bore witness to this inequity as a young teacher in Southeast, Washington, D.C. It sparked a raging fire inside of me that has influenced my work as an educator ever since.
My passion for education equity has taken me to places like Washington, D.C. and San Jose, California, and it helped me become an effective school leader. My passion also took me back home to Rhode Island where I was fortunate enough to help open and run a high-quality school in Providence as the Dean of School Culture at Achievement First Iluminar. After fourteen years as a school based educator, I decided it was ready for a new challenge. Today, I am living in Boston and work as an Educator Success Manager for Curriculum Associates, the Ed Tech Firm who makes i-Ready. This role has given me the opportunity to support leaders and teachers across the United States as they work hard to provide a high-quality, rigorous education to all their students.
Finally—because I believe that learning is a life-long process—I recently received my Ed.D. from Johnson and Wales University. The journey to my doctorate was long; however, it was the foundation I built at USD that enabled me to successfully achieve this goal. In the future, I hope to eventually work at the university level, supporting 21st century teacher development.
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” -Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Why did you choose to earn your MEd degree at USD?
My passion for continuous learning is what drove me to pursue my masters degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of San Diego. I chose this program because it was rigorous and it fit into my busy schedule. Most importantly, because of USD’s focus on social justice, every class incorporated themes of injustice and the need for transformational change.
What was your favorite part of the MEd online program?
The focus on social justice, specifically the candid conversations we had around education inequity, the history of systemic racism in our nation’s schools, the topic of “Whiteness” and the role it plays in our urban schools.
In what ways has the USD MEd online degree program influenced your work as an educator?
As a school based leader, I used the knowledge I gained at USD on a daily basis to support teachers and new leaders in the creation of classroom spaces that purposefully integrated technology and 21st Century Literacy Skills. Furthermore, I felt more confident leading across lines of difference and worked to instill this knowledge on my teachers. Finally, because this program is research based—with a focus on academic writing—I was well prepared to enter my doctoral program with the confidence necessary to successfully complete the rigors of that program.
What advice do you have for students considering USD’s MEd online degree program?
You can do it! As with any change, it takes some time to find your groove but once you’ve established a routine (and manage your calendar) it is definitely achievable! Even though you are digitally connected to your professors and classmates, you still gain a lot from the program. Also, make it a point to go to graduation! It’s a huge life achievement so celebrate it! Plus, you get to meet all your cohort mates in person which was really fun!
What are the top qualities about the USD MEd online degree program that you think really stand out and lead you to recommend it to others?
It is rigorous, yet you can fit the work into a full-time schedule. A lot of the projects and research is practitioner-based so it can be done right at school or within your own classroom. The integrated focus on social justice is also KEY to the success of this program. After much research in the area of pre-service and in-service course work on cultural competence, the USD program is a model for effective and purposeful teacher education focused on content AND equity.