I walked into a middle school classroom in Compton, California, fresh off a professional basketball tryout, unsure what would be my next step. I stood in the back of this classroom with three other TFA corps members watching a summer school class in a dark and dilapidated room. A young man got out of his seat, walked right towards me, and handed me his essay. He looked me up and down and said, “I trust you, read it.” From that moment on, I committed myself to do my part to end the social and educational injustice that exists in urban schools across this country.
I now stand as a Managing Partner of Education Elements, and couldn’t be more excited. After nearly 17 years within the K-12 system, I now have a chance to support the system from the outside and push on the inequities that pervasively exist for our most marginalized communities. States and Districts have written “equity” into their ESSA and continuous improvement plans. Yet what equity looks like in schools is still a challenge. We must understand more deeply if we want those plans to go into action. How we think about authentically leading, manage relationships, and build inclusive practices at the systems are now ways I will look to help.
I was gifted two caring parents who made sure their two boys would go off to the best colleges in the country and dream. As a sneaker loving Michael Jordan fan from Pennsylvania, education was always put first. I left for Colgate University as my high school’s all-time leading scorer to study economics. But once I experienced the injustice that existed in my classroom, the only business I wanted was the business of ending educational malpractice. It pushed me to get a masters in Education Administration at St. Thomas University, a Masters in Urban Education Leadership from Teachers’ College, Columbia University and will make my parents proud (and catch up with my brother) by officially getting my Doctorate from Teachers’ College, Columbia University by the end of 2020. In the meantime, I am a writer and speaker by passion, a father and husband by love, and a photographer for inspiration.
Sneakers (and my family of course😊)
Happiness and more sneakers!