Position: Education Specialist - I lead the collaborative student team at Lazear Charter Academy
What led you to your current position?
I started my work with Seneca as a Mental Health Counselor (SSA/para educator) in a counseling enriched classroom for two years and developed an interest in the role of teacher. I liked the need for creativity and individualization that Special Education requires and I believe that fundamentally education does not work unless it works for all. I got my degree through the Seneca-LMU program and was placed in All-In program at ASCEND, I worked with a wide range of students and was able to grow my teaching skill a lot in that role but I did miss working with a smaller group of higher need students. At the current Lazear program I have a much smaller caseload and work on a larger team of adults holding students who have a wide variety of needs. In my current position I know that the students I work with would be in Special Day Classes (SDC's) or Counseling Enriched Classes (CEC's) if it weren't for the intentional, hard working attempt at full inclusion programs.
Fun Fact/Quote: "It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities." - Dumbledore
What does your average day look like?
I spend between 70-80% of my every day with students. I frequently have collab meetings before school where I lead a team in info-sharing and brainstorming about shared students. Then I spend most of my morning with my 6/7th graders and most of my afternoon with my K-2 students. The students on my caseload get services from 2 other Ed specialists, 2 therapists, 4 SSAs (or para educators), speech pathologist and an occupational therapist, so I am also frequently doing fly-by check ins with other adults in between teaching. I’m never ever bored at work.
Why do you do this work?
I believe that education is the most important and high leverage area of our current society where we can make sustainable, long term progress towards the world we collectively want to live in. When I began working in education it quickly became clear to me that the problems we as a country struggle with (environmentalism, mental health support, crime and punishment, segregation and discrimination, access to resource needs) begin and are replicated over and over in our schools. While working within education means playing a daily role in a system that I am not always proud of, I do this work to tip the scale a little every year closer to true equity and be a voice and advocate for those who are not getting the education that we all deserve.