In 2020, I ran for the Bakersfield City School Board Trustee Area 3 because I knew that I can be an effective advocate for my children and the families in my community. I believe that public education provides hope and my vision for our district includes advocating for social justice, arts and higher education.
Change in public education is usually slow and painful. However, at the start of my term in 2020, long-held traditions in education are all being turned on their head. We find ourselves with an opportunity to make things not just compliant but to make them better. In a time when we are reimagining the schools my children attend, I am eager to have meaningful input and amplify voices in our community.
My family is Catholic. Being raised devoutly Christian shaped my leadership style in two ways. Firstly, I am a fiscally conservative and this would be reflected in my voting. Secondly, watching my grandfather serve as chairperson for St. Vincent de Paul and other philanthropic endeavors instilled the values of social justice and that everyone deserves help. I am passionate about implementing workable policy that addresses inequity and allows us to care for our neighbors.
Our community and nation can no longer ignore racial inequality. Leaders must constantly ask ourselves what we want to normalize for young brown and black people in our schools. We need to ensure what they come in with is not seen as a deficit or challenge but acknowledge both historical and ongoing trauma they face. Many BCSD teachers have incorporated anti-racism curriculum into the classroom but need support and recognition. Throughout my leadership journey, I made it my priority to try to understand and advocate for disenfranchised groups. I hope to partner with families and advocates in our community to continue this work.
Music, theatre, dance and other arts provide options for our young people to take part in team building endeavors and learn discipline. During this pandemic, the arts have been a lifeline and a gift we should be prioritizing for our children. Students that participate in arts programs perform better in school. Perhaps most importantly art provides students a safe mechanism to express and understand their emotions. We are fortunate to have a thriving arts community in Bakersfield and as a district we need to provide our students more opportunities and tools to bring beauty into our world.
Higher Education Ally
Bakersfield has faced national scrutiny for lack of educational attainment and literacy. However working at Kern Community College District I have been able to be part of the solution of access to both career and academic education programs. As a California Teacher Association state delegate I was part of the Early Childhood Education Committee. One of the many lessons I learned from that appointment was that districts need to prepare learners for higher education and the workforce beginning at the elementary levels. Having worked in education since 2005, I have realized that cross-sector collaborations are fundamental to overcoming social inequity. It is vital to incorporate play and other developmentally appropriate practices we should simultaneously strive to prepare our students for both the workforce and higher education.