My Piece of the Puzzle
- Talk to me about ideas, new and old.
- Talk to me about making complicated concepts easy to understand.
- Talk to me about a problem, or a project in need of improving.
- Talk to me. I’m an excellent listener and asker of questions that push thinking.
The story of finding my calling in this work is a personal story of the opportunity gap, who is born on either side of it, who gets to cross it, and who gets left behind. I spent my early years in central New Jersey public schools. My hometown is a working-class African-American and Hispanic community with schools that historically rank near the bottom in a number of statewide metrics. My early student experiences featured overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks, and daylong film screenings hosted by substitute teachers. The best thing about school was that my friends also had to be there. Unfortunately, it was not an environment that I, nor any of my friends, found intellectually engaging.
The turning point of my life was gaining acceptance to an independent boarding school in Maryland. My classmates here were mostly white and upper-middle class, and many of their parents held advanced degrees. The initial culture shock was jarring and didn’t fully recede, but I adapted, and in time I learned to thrive in this new environment. I made lasting friendships with people who experienced the world differently than I did. I was given the intellectual freedom to challenge myself in ways that I hadn’t before. In fact, it seemed that such exploration was expected among students. Regular contact with my friends at home made me realize the extent to which our educational experiences had diverged; I grew accustomed to them telling me how lucky I was.
For all the aptitudes I displayed from a young age, I can think of one or more students whose abilities matched or exceeded my own. For years, scores of students, particularly poorer students of color, have passed through the education system without real chances to show society at large what they are capable of. In his autobiography, Malcolm X described them as “victims of the American social order”. I decided to become an educator because this aspect of the social order needs to be confronted and upended. I am an educator because I believe that school should be a safe space for students, especially the most vulnerable among them, to pursue their passions and to authentically explore themselves. I educate young people because each of them should feel “lucky” to be in school.
I come to reDesign hoping to push my understanding of the teaching and learning process. I want to create learning experiences that become core memories for participants. And I want to make sure that everyone has access to these types of experiences, because we all know this has never been the case.
What Brings Me Joy in the World
I’m a washed up former Division I athlete and nature lover who is happiest when moving my body and being outside—ideally at the same time.
I’m someone who needs multiple artistic outlets at all times—these days it’s playing 🎸and writing sci-fi and fantasy stories 🛸, mostly.
Food. Growing it, cooking it, eating it, all of it.
What I’ve Been Inspired to Work On
Designing playful, cutting edge adult learning experiences that are relevant to their experience and responsive to their needs.
Learning Communities & Credentials
- A.B. in History from Harvard College
- M.A.T in childhood education from Relay Graduate School of Education
- Ed.M. in Learning and Teaching, Instructional Leadership Strand from Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Research Fellowship in Singapore
From our reDesign community to yours, we look forward to connecting, co-designing, learning, and sharing with you.