My Evolution From Classroom Teacher to
A Multi-Tool For Educational Leadership

In 2000, I became a secondary math teacher with a focus on supporting underserved, diverse populations. I was a first gen student who entered community college underprepared for the demands of college level work. My personal academic success transformed my life's trajectory. The experience ignited my passion to be a part of youth and adults' success stories - to help improve their lives and communities through the opportunities afforded through the attainment of education and career training.

Teaching students with large skill and knowledge gaps sparked my interest in EdTech as I looked for ways to transform the paper-based personalized acceleration curriculum I developed.  Replacing that curriculum with personalized learning software allowed me to spend more time working 1:1 with students and provided valuable learning data. I quickly learned the value of metacognitive development, sharing students' data with them include them in the learning process. 

My early classroom experiences shaped my teaching style. I was given the space to innovate and designed innovative academic programs and classroom management systems, summer school curriculum, and off-campus learning experiences. I've also learned how to use the world as a classroom and to use research-based teaching methods that offer authentic learning experiences to K16 students. Designing standards-based curriculum and assessment is another one of my key strengths, I am adept at creating instructional events and materials tailored to learners' characteristics that are aligned to learning outcomes. Participating in programs to build family and community support developed my skills in working with families and community members. 

In 2010, my principal urged me to apply for a math coaching position to support teachers in the transition to Common Core. I landed the coaching position then spent the next several years researching, listening, watching, and asking lots of questions to learn as much as I could about the new standards and to expand my teaching methods. I developed a deep understanding of CCSSM and how to apply that knowledge to any state's standards-based instructional system across subject areas.

Vertical Articulation Poster Activity for CCSSM - Big Ideas at Each Grade Level

Middle School Math Teachers Exploring Modeling FractionsTwo years later, I began working as the district's K-12 Math Coordinator.  I supported 19 school administrators, 1,000 teachers, and 20,000 students. My team consisted of 3 coaches that I recruited and supervised. Together we worked side-by-side to redesign literally every single standards-based instruction and assessment document  for teachers, interim assessments, and the district's mathematics web resources for teachers, students, and families. I also developed a bridge curriculum for summer school to be used with incoming middle school students centering on Jo Boaler's resources and interdisciplinary project-based learning.

One of Many Family Math Nights

I developed a partnership with the staff from extended learning to offer Family Math nights at schools across the district. The math nights have been one of my favorite events so far - it was a pure joy to see children and parents playing games and engaging in mathematics activities together. Parents began to see the value of their children learning "new math", i.e. the why before the how. I then looked for ways to extend teacher support beyond the district and joined the Monterey Bay Area Math Project (MBAMP) housed at UC Santa Cruz. As a member of the leadership team, I co-planned and facilitated spring and summer professional learning institute sessions.

Additional Pro Dev Leadership 

  • Developing materials and facilitating technology-enhanced teaching and learning cadres

  • Google Apps for Education Administrator, managed devices and accounts for teachers and students

  • Cybertutor Coordinator at UC Santa Cruz, redesigned the staff training course and tutoring training model

  • Developed international teaching resources, lesson plans, and trained teachers on GBL with mathematics software

  • Created and facilitated countless conference, district, and school site professional learning workshops; leveraged hundreds of informal, teachable moments with faculty and staff

  • Initiated faculty support and pro dev during the quick pivot to remote teaching at CSU Pueblo

  • Designed developed, and facilitated 2 courses for CSU Pueblo faculty, topics include pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching, course design, and differentiation

  • Continuous networking to learn and collaborate with other educators and non-academic colleagues

  • Designed and facilitated international virtual math competitions that provided all students with an opportunity to earn medals based on effort and persistence

Other Interests

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a hobby that I've been engaged in for over 15 years. In addition to coaching and competing, I design youth programs, curriculum and belt promotion systems, and develop and facilitate summer camps. To support coaches working in 3 different gym locations, I created a coaching manual with guidelines and resources for coaching diverse populations and students with special needs. I also implemented a scheduling system using an app coaches installed on their phones and held regular training and check in meetings with them. 

The summer camps are based on an anti-bullying curriculum that I developed. The curriculum is grounded in life skills such as conflict resolution, safely deescalating threatening situations, and appreciating diversity. 

My motto in life is "pay it forward" and being a part of the Jiu Jitsu community offers opportunities to help others. I've organized several benefit seminars as medical fundraisers for members of the jiu jitsu community. 

In addition to competing in tournaments, I owned and operated a a tournament services business that processed competitor registrations, utilized digital match scoring systems, and trained staff at events. I've coordinated tournaments ranging in size from small in-house scrimmages to regional tournaments with hundreds of competitors.

           Teaching the Women's Jiu Jitsu Class Kid's Jiu Jitsu Summer Camp; Getting to Know You Activity