Candidate Statement for President-Elect

In every position I have held throughout my career in education I have been an advocate for equity and increased access to high-quality mathematics education. Both in and out of the classroom, I have worked to identify and make the best use of my own and colleagues’ strengths to enable us to work towards this common goal. 

“Success is measured in part by what you help others achieve and accomplish.” - Kamala Harris

When reflecting on who has influenced my commitment to equity and access for mathematics education, one specific student comes to mind from my second year of teaching, when one of the classes I was teaching was co-taught pre-algebra. This student, Luz, was moved into our pre-algebra class from a self-contained class by her special education teacher, also my team teacher, Sara. I quickly learned that Luz was a self-driven learner who, sadly, was overlooked for opportunities where she should have excelled due to the inequitable practices and policies within the system. When engaged in properly differentiated and scaffolded tasks she worked above grade-level. This resulted in her grades moving from Ds to Bs, but also contributed to a new positive mathematics disposition. She genuinely wanted to understand the mathematics she was tasked with, often staying after school for additional help and practice. Luz and I got to know each other very well that year, she shared with me very personal experiences; her journey to the United States from El Salvador, her brother’s passing from cancer, her undocumented status, her love of bachata and art, her hopes of going to college, of having a career, her achievements with soccer and her interest in basketball. Luz and I still keep in touch; I consider her a close friend. Now 33, she is an amazing young woman, who fights for social justice and was recently awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study the culture and language of indigenous populations in El Salvador.

Throughout my time as a teacher, I was privileged to meet, learn from, and advocate for many students, who, while in my classroom, demonstrated their brilliance year after year. Undeterred by an inequitable, broken system, given the right opportunities, these students were able to graduate on time and were properly prepared for life after high school. 

For Luz, and others like Luz, I questioned the policies and practices that harmed students, pushing back, and advocating for change. I found myself being more intentional with my teaching practices and better understood the importance of strong relationships with students, their families, and colleagues. Sara, and teachers like Sara, modelled for me the importance of having high expectations, challenging students, and advocating for them. Because of my commitment to challenge and advocating for students, I moved out of the classroom and into a position as instructional support for mathematics and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers at over 50 schools and centers at the secondary level. While serving in this position one of the projects I am most proud of was leading the revision of the process for assessing multilingual students who transfer to the school system from abroad. The changes shortened the testing process and allowed for greater access to grade-level and honors mathematics courses. I continue that commitment working as an Educational Specialist supporting Multi-Tiered Systems of Support where we focus on collective responsibility, partnering with families, analyzing disproportionality data, and being an advocate for marginalized groups. I have carried experiences like these with me throughout my career. In every role I have held, I have been a tireless advocate, working to ensure that all learners have equitable access to a meaningful mathematics education. 

I have built my career around supporting underserved populations, as a teacher, as a coach in the Office of ESOL Services, and in my current role as an Educational Specialist for Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. If elected, I will use that passion in my work with TODOS, working for equity and access for the mathematics education of all learners, not just in my district, but across the country.