Originally from Warwick, RI, I earned a political science degree at Trinity University in Washington D.C. Soon after I earned a School Counseling Master’s degree at Assumption College. I completed my school counseling practicum at a middle school in Worcester, MA, an undeserved middle school with a diverse population.
While in Worcester I took a position as a parent organizer with Stand for Children MA. STAND MA had just successful passed legislation tying tenure to teacher evaluations vs. the traditional unionized model. Naturally, this campaign destroyed Stand’s relationships in Worcester a heavily union city. I took on the role of rebuilding our image in Worcester. The previous organizer wasn’t actually organizing, she was just working the policy angle. I told everyone that I was here to be an organizer and as long as I am here, that’s exactly what I intend to do. We won back a great deal of respect and relationships in the year I was with Stand and had even turned one of our greatest dissenters.
Right now, I am an education blogger and real estate agent while I build the capital to start a community based school counseling organization focused on middle school students. I had always wanted to be a teacher, but when I was in high school, I thought teachers didn’t make enough money, so I decided to go into politics to help teachers make more money. I started out strongly in support of unions.
I particularly remember blindly supporting a Warwick Teacher’s union demand in 2003 when I graduated from high school. It wasn’t until Junior year if college that I realized teacher pay is a massively more complicated issue and not at all what I expected. We advocated and my younger sister gained admission to the public charter school, The MET in Providence, RI. The MET champions alternative education, something all school should look closer at.
One of my saddest experiences were as a guidance intern in Worcester. I could work diligently with a student for a 30 min session – but know that I have to send him right back to the awful teachers for the majority of the day. There were maybe a handful of great teachers in the school, a handful of down right disrespectful and awful teachers and the rest were pretty mediocre. And I know this is not unusual.
I also volunteered with Communities in Schools in Atlanta at one of the lowest performing middle schools in DeKalb County, GA. I observed awful substitute teachers, mediocre teachers and even spent time with a TFA/Harvard Education graduate. Even with all the tools and strategies that I know great teachers possess, it was still extremely difficult to maintain progress in class and class composure. One student asked my why she can’t have a quiet classroom. I had no idea what I should tell her.
We need wide, sweeping, dramatic change. That’s why I support education reform. While unions are not the exclusive reason we aren’t moving forward they have their hand in it and definitely make efforts to hold us back. We need great teachers and great principals in EVERY school.
Decatur Citizens Police Academy Training
Treasurer & Voter Outreach Coordinator, DeKalb (County) Young Democrats
Board Member, Advisory Board for Alisha Thomas Morgan for State School Superintendent
Neighborhood Watch Coordinator, Midway Woods Neighborhood Association, Decatur, GA
United Way VIP Board Program Graduate
DeKalb County CASA Volunteer
Communities in Schools Volunteer, DeKalb County middle school
College Track volunteer, East Lake YMCA Teen & Youth Development Center, Atlanta, GA
Worcester Organizer, STAND for Children Massachusetts
Mentor, Refugee Independence through Service Enhancement (RISE) Program
Mentor, Real Connections Program, Rhode Island Foster Parent Association
Providence Children’s Initiative, Promise Neighborhoods Project (Harlem Children’s Zone model), Providence, RI
Volunteer, Math Volunteer Program, Newport Public Schools, RI
Lead Organizer, Moderate Party of RI, Warwick, RI
Volunteer Team Leader, Young Heroes Program, City Year Rhode Island
Executive Assistant, USAction, Washington, DC
Research Intern, Center on Education Policy, Washington, DC
News Blogger, This Week In Education with Alexander Russo
Intern, The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)
Intern, U.S. Department of Education, Washington DC
Intern, Office of Senator Jack Reed, Washington DC
Tutor, Maya Angelou Public Charter School and Academy
Tutor, Project North Star