In 1972, I had an opportunity to participate in the Teacher Corps program. Designed to foster urban teacher development, the Teacher Corps provided me with the knowledge, skills, tools and disposition required to effectively teach students impacted by inner city environments inside and outside of the schoolhouse. Therefore, unbeknownst to me, I began my journey as an advocate for social justice with a focus on the disrupting the marginalizing beliefs of teachers and the resulting influence these beliefs have on the resulting behaviors and mindsets of students in inner city environments. After 39 years as a K-12 educator (from classroom teacher to administration), I bring a unique perspective to the university.
When I first began teaching, it was with a passion that was born out of the civil-rights movement. The vision I began then was not only about the external changes of school reform, but the internal changes needed by educators to ensure all students and school communities were privileged to the kind of education they needed in order to successfully compete within the mainstream segments of our communities, and ultimately, our society. This continued advocacy for social justice, cemented early from my life experiences, has provided me the privilege to assist students and practitioners to build the internal beliefs required to change the educational outcomes of our marginalized, disenchanted, and disengaged communities and its members. Thus, working in various teaching and administrative positions for many years, as well as serving on various community, academic, and administrative committees, both from Pre-K to University levels of education, I have had numerous opportunities to gain insights into how to develop, implement, modify, assess, and ultimately transform educational institutions by connecting practitioners with the scholarly knowledge that enables them to develop their advocacy to become the initiators and facilitators of systemic and sustainable change.
As a scholar-practitioner, my service in public education has also given me countless opportunities to deeply understand the various types of agendas critical in establishing the sustainability of local, state, and national policies and practices that guide our mindsets. Oftentimes, educational research is situated in a traditional paradigm in which outcomes do not enable practitioners to situate educational issues in a manner in which to utilize research to understand the complexities and multiple perspectives of issues, needed to dismantle mindsets and practices that have perpetuated and harbored the inequities existing in our Pre-K through university systems of schooling. Given the proliferation of research, we must step outside of traditional ways of thinking about educational issues in order to integrate a cross-curricular research paradigm that necessitates practitioners to think about how research should be conducted and utilized in order to ascertain viable outcomes and will change the nature of how we develop, interpret, and subsequently, implement reform agendas in order to employ practices proven to disrupt the cycle of failure that so many of our practitioners and students participate in. To do so requires us to assist future practitioner-scholars in cultivating a collaborative culture in which research intersects with sustainable practices, and is integrated into the multiple foci of education, thus, extending options for students and practitioners to demonstrate the relevance between critical analysis and practical wisdom. Because educational issues are affected by numerous interacting variables, that should not be isolated from one another, we then enable practitioners to effectively link scholarship and its practical application,
Serving as a Lecture in the Master’s program and the Doctoral program, and the administrative and support skills required of being the former Academic Coordinator in CSU East Bay Doctoral Program, and now currently as the Program Coordinator for both the Tier 1 Administrative Credentialing program, and Fieldwork program, I have had many opportunities to initiate change to better ensure program outcomes, effective teaching practices, and student success, as measured by program, department, and university goals. In the 2016 -2017 academic year, I will continue my work on inter/intra program alignment and coherence. As a continuing Lecturer, previously in the Masters’ Year 1 and Year 2, and the Doctoral Program, I have had numerous opportunities to understand the need for alignment needed to effectively engage students in transforming their thinking, knowledge, and practices to better ensure their success and their effectiveness as educational leaders for social justice all students, but particularly students who continue to be marginalized by the historical and societal practices in their schools and communities.
The knowledge I have gained as a scholar- practitioner and my current experience in the academy has provided me countless opportunities for thoughtful analyses of the linkage of scholarship to its practical application and how I integrate research into courses and my instruction, and how I conduct my own writing, and research purpose. With the goal to continually increase my effectiveness as a scholar-practitioner and a life-long advocate for social justice, my employment and administrative assignments in our elementary and secondary education, and my current and past participation on various university committees, college committees, department committees, and cross-curricular teaching assignments, have allowed me numerous opportunities to better understand adult learning and my role as a facilitator of this learning through the coherence and alignment of curriculum and practice for, not only student effectiveness, but my effectiveness as a faculty member.
As a life-long learner, my in-depth practical knowledge and experiences, coupled with my emerging research agenda, have provided me a unique perspective of how to build the foundation educators need eradicate the inequities that are perpetuated by past and current policies and resulting practices, to provide educators the fundamentals to ensure effective application of a broad range of knowledge, needed to sustain themselves as efficacious leaders. While our constituents may currently possess the will to do so, it remains my continued responsibility to provide them with the exposure, tools, skills, and just as important, the mind-sets needed to more effectively guide and assist their educational communities through the systemic transformations needed to ensure the success of all.
Now, equally urgent, is the need for experienced educators who can thoughtfully leverage deliberate and systemic changes required to create and sustain excellent schools and universities. Coming full circle, the challenge of helping all stakeholders meet high standards sometimes appear to be daunting. However, I believe the challenge can and must be met. To do so will require me to continue to be able to identify the major factors that contribute to our constituents’ engagement and the linkage between research and practice for sustainable change. My continued work, with a vast network of colleagues, will also allow me to gain insights needed to continually grow as a collaborative scholar-practitioner.
One of the many gifts I bring to the University is my versatility and knowledge of efficacious leadership and scholarship needed to lead by example in our quest to sustain effective whole-school reform from Pre-K through the University.