After Carleton, I joined AmeriCorps*VISTA and ran an after school and tutoring program in a public elementary school in Riverside, CA. I also established a new partnership between the school district and the arts council, which brought artists into the schools and a local community center. I developed a passion for education and interest in how the arts could promote student engagement and promote social justice.
I next made my way to Washington, D.C., where I worked for a national arts advocacy organization for two years. There, I promoted the role of the arts in federal education legislation and in schools across the country. Wanting to sharpen my research and policy chops, I went to the Harvard Graduate School of Education and earned a master’s degree, focusing on arts education and education policy.
For the next five years, I worked in research and evaluation, first at Citizen Schools and then at the KIPP Foundation, which operates a national network of high-performing charter schools. As director of research at KIPP, I had the opportunity to work with both data and educators – a rare combination that I loved. I was inspired by the work teachers were doing to close opportunity and achievement gaps.
In 2010, I joined an advocacy organization committed to education equity, the Education Trust—West. As deputy director for research and policy, I surface inequities facing students in California and propose policy solutions that will help close achievement gaps. I enjoy working on urgent policy issues and having an impact on students and communities.
Although my work does not directly address the arts, I carry my passion for arts education into all that I do. I believe that access to arts is an equity issue and strive to build broader, richer, more colorful opportunities for all children in California. My daughter will soon be a Kindergartener at an arts magnet school and I look forward to seeing art learning through her eyes.