Position: UE Coach in Seattle, WA
What led you to your current position? I have come to appreciate my own K-12 education experience as being immersed in identities and communities other than my own. I’ve always been a curious person and always enjoyed getting to know and work with all different types of people. I studied psychology with a minor in education and found that I wanted to serve a diverse community which eventually lead me to social work particularly, school social work. I’ve had the opportunity to work in schools for almost 10 years, been an in-home ABA therapist as well as an in-home crisis family therapist here in King County, WA that has reinforced my passion of work with youth and families. Being able to work as a UE Coach allows me to interact and navigate the different systems that impact our youth and families and I will be honest, being around elementary students keeps me on my toes! I love their unfiltered, passionate voices and it brings me joy to be around that type of energy. I can’t wait to be among students again.
Fun Fact: My hometown is where In-n-Out began. If you ask for extra sauce, you can see my city printed on the back.
What does your average day look like? My average day has been impacted by the global pandemic just like everyone else. My typical day currently consist of keeping the same schedule as I would if I were on-site at a school. I still interface with the staff via virtual meetings, continuing the work through spaces such as MTSS & Race and Equity committees and joining the counseling team in creating weekly social emotional content for learning. I am collaborating with educators at both my school sites in navigating the challenging inequities that have been magnified due to this pandemic. I miss the students that I would see in the schools and try to join virtual meetings when available and appropriate. As a working parent, I am navigating what parenting looks like with a toddler who often joins my afternoon meetings and requests to say hello to my colleagues.
Why do you do this work? I see schools as a central community hub. Schools have access and potential to connect with students, family, community members, local businesses, local faith-based organizations, and service providers. This gives schools the opportunity to build their asset map of skills, resources and community-lead solutions. I do this work because of the potential that is every student and my anchor is always equity. When I work in schools, I see the school system as a symphony, each section playing its own part, each section with its own leader. Working alongside school administrators and leaders offers the opportunity to adjust, practice and impact systems of intervention across all streams so that we can fine-tune what may be at times a loud cacophony to a full-blown orchestra.
Further, as a staff of color, I do this work because the school system wasn’t built or didn’t have communities of color in mind. Every day is a chance to validate the experience of every individual, to acknowledge and name that the system and unfortunately perhaps even the school staff, has yet to reflect the population that walks through the doors. Every day is a chance to push back against the systems and to follow the lead of the communities we seek to serve.