When I started teaching at an urban public school in 2002, I looked out at a class of students who, like me when I was their age, found themselves on the wrong side of opportunity and achievement gaps. I grew up in a single-parent home in a rural part of Charles County, and throughout my thirteen years in public schools, I qualified for reduced-price meals.

A hardworking mother and extended family, a strong church community and great teachers helped me escape the trap door of poverty. It was through their support and dedication that I succeeded in school, earned a vocal music scholarship to college and became the professional I am today.

My desire to help children facing challenges similar to mine, along with my experiences as a teaching assistant in college inspired me to go into the field of education. After graduating from Clark Atlanta University, I joined Teach For America and found myself in front of students just like my younger self. That experience began my 12 years in the classroom.

I am very proud of the work I did with children in schools, and because of those experiences, I feel the desire to have a bigger impact. After serving as an elected official and completing fellowships advising U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and leading UNCF’s effort to start a teaching pipeline for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, I am excited to start this new phase of my career: serving as deputy director of MarylandCAN.

I look forward to advocating for policies that help children from backgrounds like mine overcome the opportunity and achievement gaps I faced as a child. I was very fortunate to have a family and support network to help me overcome; now it’s time our policies change to help all children overcome.


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