Miami is home. It’s a place I feel deeply connected to and proud of. I love the culture, the grit, and the deep sense of place that Miami has. Miami affirms who I am. After being away for more than a decade, Miami has offered me a tremendous opportunity to come back and work to help improve public education, an issue that has become my life’s work.
My husband and I wanted to be a part of the diversity Miami offers and it felt right to raise our son here. However, we see that while people and communities are diverse and entrepreneurial opportunity abounds Miami is not broadly inclusive across lines of race and class. While here, we hope to help strengthen our City to become one, in which all community members have public education that will allow them to live into their fullest potential.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE ON YOUR LIST? WHY?
Education. I believe that every child should have access to an education that will prepare them for a life of their choosing. Not only is it our moral responsibility to make sure that a high school diploma is truly a credential that will take our students to a next step in college or career, but the vitality and success of our City is directly linked to having an educated and engaged group of citizen living, leading, working, and creating here. So many of Miami’s residents come from across the world to give their child a better opportunity in life and believe that when they place their child in school that when that child graduates from high school, they will be ready for the world. Given my own experience and those of so many other students, that’s not yet true. I believe that through our collective efforts we can make this happen.
HOW CAN WE SOLVE IT?
As the Executive Director of Teach For America here in Miami I work to ensure that we recruit some of the most promising and diverse leaders across the country to commit their lives to strengthening education and addressing poverty beginning with teaching for two years in our most under resourced communities. After their two year commitment, they go on to become master teachers, school administrators, housing specialists, policy makers, non-profit leaders, or lead in other areas where they can continue to positively influence education, students, and families. We envision a world where more decisions are made by individuals who have worked and built deep relationships in schools and communities that are struggling. We currently focus our efforts in Liberty City, Overtown, Little Haiti, North Miami, Miami Gardens, and Homestead. I get to work alongside so many partners – other community organizations serving children, parents and families of our students, school and district administrators, teachers, and engaged citizens and supporters – to ensure that every child, no matter what community they live in in Miami-Dade County have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. We are still far from that, but I know that within my lifetime we will see a day where all students go to excellent schools where they not only learn content, but are cared for, valued, and prepared to tackle the biggest issues of their time.