District/College: Eugene School District 4j
Job Assignment/Position: SSD TOSA and Autism Consultant
Local Association: Eugene Education Association
Years of Educator Experience: 19
What are three ways you have actively elevated equity?
- I have worked in Life Skills programs as an assistant for three years and as a teacher and program coordinator for sixteen. I ran a program for students who had moderate to profound impacts from their disabilities and who needed the highest level of support that exists in our public schools. I also ran a peer tutoring elective class and was the advisor for the Look Me In The Eye and Rotary Interact Clubs.
- I have chaired the OEA Special Education Committee for the last three years. During this time, we have drafted official committee statements on several issues including issues related to disproportionate discipline and recovery services. Part of our work included completing an action plan about inclusive practices and creating and sharing educator-led PD around the state to help our fellow educators to understand issues, structures, and systems in the field of Special Education. We have also helped to develop two legislative concepts and helped OEA pass Senate Bill 580 and Senate Bill 744 during the last legislative session. Those bills support Oregon’s students by making class size and caseload mandatory subjects of collective bargaining and improve equitable graduation requirements for Oregon’s diverse learners.
- I have worked as an Equity Sparks Facilitator alongside Diane Hicks, Angela Vargas and Lisa Hasuike and helped support this program in its mission to recruit and retain BIPOC educators. I have also worked with Katherine Watkins, Stephen Siegal, Alejandra Saechao, LeAndre Butler, and Evan Walker in a variety of different ways and on a variety of different projects, so seeing the OEA Equity Champions page kind of feels like looking at a family reunion picture in a sense. I love and respect all of these educators and feel gratitude for the opportunities I have gotten to work with them and I want them to know that.
What is your equity stance?
Equity is about giving extra attention and support to the people who need it the most. It is about uplifting people and rejecting Hierarchy’s of Human Value, discrimination, and racism. Equity means teaching about the beauty of different cultures and helping students to see their cultures in the curriculum. It is about culturally responsive teaching and rejecting the caste system. It is about people with privilege going to the back of the line because they can afford to wait more than the person who is working three jobs just to make ends meet and who really only has five minutes to do what they are trying to do. Equity is about making sure people know they are loved and valued and making sure all people are having their basic needs being met. Equity is about using a growth model and strength-based approaches and it is about restorative justice. It is about advocating for people and helping them learn how to advocate better for themselves. It is about teaching people how to grow their independence and state their wants and needs. It is also about respecting the self determination of others. It is about community and family partnerships, affinity spaces, and listening. It is about free access to programs, activities, and meals and not making people prove that they need that access. Equity is about optimism, responsibility, assertiveness, and compassion. Also challenging the status quo, pushing for positive changes, promoting peaceful conflict resolution, and working with people towards collective liberation.
What is your favorite social justice quote?
The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.
It is better to light one small candle of gratitude than to curse the darkness
Can you share one equity focused resource or student read that you recommend?
- Taking the War Out of Our Words: The Art of Powerful Non-defensive Communication by Sharon Strand Ellison
- Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice by Elena Aguilar