I’ve loved stories since I was a child.
My grandma taught me to read when I was just 3. At night, my mom would often find me under the covers in my bed — with a flashlight in one hand and a book in the other.
I loved how stories had the power to teach, transport, and transform.
Stories introduced me to different people and ideas. They made me experience deep feelings – of sorrow, or injustice or joy. They told of great losses and accomplishments, in the past or in the future.
Even today, there’s nothing I like more than curling up in my bed with my favorite Barbara Kingsolver or Anne Lamott book at the end of a busy day.
Stories powered my desire to learn – and then to teach.
At 50 years old, my grandma Helen went back to school to become a special education teacher. She was an advocate who gave voice to those whose voices weren’t being heard — from the students she taught, to the unsung family heroes she brought to light through her genealogy work, to the countless strangers she impacted through her philanthropic efforts (which most often took the form of $5 donations she’d make to any organization that sent her requests for donations through the mail). She taught me that everyone’s story matters, that any small effort to make a difference in the lives of others is valuable, and that we are obligated to use our gifts in service to others whenever and wherever we are able.
My grandma’s story and passion fueled my belief that access to an equitable education is one of the great civil rights issues of our time.
And so, I discovered my calling and became an educator, pursuing a teaching degree and later a master’s. In 2004, my master’s research on educating underserved youth in urban environments was recognized with an Ethnography Excellence Award.
I took equity and justice research further, receiving a doctorate in Leadership in Educational Justice from the University of Redlands in 2009. My research explored how people’s stories (their context, experience, background) can show us where and why barriers to teaching and learning exist.
From teaching English and English Language Development to high school students to teaching doctoral research methods to aspiring superintendents, the core of my work has always remained centered around how to help learners create greater agency in their own lives through the vehicle of education.
As I taught in different communities throughout the US, I came to believe that the challenges in education could and would be solved when educators worked collaboratively to begin to ask different questions about our schools and the young people in them.
In 2014 I began working with school systems and communities to find solutions to engage marginalized and disenfranchised youth.
I love engaging with communities to learn and understand their stories – because that’s where we find ways to change systems and create lasting change. I deeply engage in each school to support teachers and leaders to transform systems, re-write stories and create lasting change where all students can thrive. It’s deep, meaningful and transformative work.
Through my work, I’ve heard many stories that deserve to be told.
Stories of transformation in one person or an entire community.
Change-makers have stories we can all learn from.
And so, in 2015 I founded Full Circle Press, a publishing house that focuses on helping change-agents tell their own stories, so more people and communities can be inspired to break barriers and create transformation. Learn more about my work with authors here.
TuPac's Greatest Hits and Beatles' Abbey Road are my go-to albums
When I’m not hiking around the mountains, I’m experimenting with vegan recipes in the kitchen
I’ve published 4 of my own books
I live with my family in the mountains of Southern California
I’m always waiting for the next great memoir to bury my nose into
Please book a call to speak with me.
I’d love to see how I can help you change the story in your community.
Or help you tell your own story of transformation.
Or maybe both.