COMMUNITY CHANGEMAKER

Parent, Educator, Neighbor 

WHERE I COME FROM

As an artist and educator, my work focuses on inclusive storytelling. By centering historically excluded voices and building pathways to platforms for those voices to be heard, we create spaces with seats at the table where all artists and students feel they belong.

 

That work has indelibly influenced my ethos as a parent, neighbor, friend to our community. I have a lifelong track record of showing up and fighting for the underdog -- it’s who I am. And that’s because I adamantly believe that fair representation is essential to ensuring equitable access to any opportunity -- whether that’s the right to learn, or the right to speak up and be heard. 

 

I'm a connector, and community organizer persistently advocating for equity in opportunities for all. As a parent, and educator, I’ve been passionate about creating equitable access to cool learning opportunities for all our students at LaSalle since my oldest started Kindergarten in 2018, and I’m dedicated to doing so for years to come as my youngest will not graduate until 2029.

 

Due to my involvement with so many different aspects of LaSalle and its neighborhood, I have a broadly informed perspective and unique insight into our school and its community. I’m thankful for great relationships with our staff, our teachers, our administration, fellow families, and our students. My husband Mike and I work in the neighborhood, too. Since 2009, Mike has taught in CPS at Lincoln Park High School, and I teach at DePaul University, The Second City and Columbia College Chicago. As an active community member of several neighborhood organizations, I’ve worked alongside my friend and neighbor, Ward 43 Alderman Michele Smith, and other passionate community leaders in the Lincoln Park, Old Town, and Near North communities, as well as with Aldermen and community organizations citywide through my work supporting the Chicago Teachers Union and CTU Foundation.

 

I am deeply grateful to all for their continued support of LaSalle, and our CPS schools city-wide. When I engage with my community, I strive to be an inclusive leader: mindful, open, curious, optimistic, and self-aware of what I don't know, of the experiences that I do not have, so that I can support, inspire, and empower a diverse team to collaborate effectively toward shared visions, shared goals, and shared decision making. My diverse relationships throughout our school, and neighborhood community help make me an engaged advocate for all. Read my candidate statement here.

COMMUNITY, LSC & FOL VOLUNTEER 
Projects past and present  

PANDEMIC-RESPONSE COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP, CHICAGO 

Community Support and Outreach, Ward 43 & city-wide

  • Helped write city-wide phone bank script to check on elderly residents 

  • Support small business grassroots campaigns 

  • Support free pantry grassroots campaigns 

  • Support mobile healthcare campaigns 

  • Created Comedy-On-Call to bridge community isolation for all ages

  • Organized socially distant outdoor play for neighborhood children

Bridging the Digital Divide

  • Executive Producer, We Still Teach TV (CTU, Fox 32/My50 Chicago)

  • Director, Remote Learning Professional Development Program (CTUF)

Strengthening Remote Learning

  • Organized Remote Enrichment for CPS families during closures 

  • Authored articles for PBS At-Home supporting parents and teachers

COVID-Safety Advocacy & Activism

  • Lead LSC organizing and advocacy, city-wide 

  • Organized vaccine access for educators & elderly 

  • Publicized vaccine access for 12-18+

  • Organized CPS' first vaccine events for kids ages 5-11 

  • Collaborated with CTU and CPS leaders re: mitigations efficacy

  • Helped vaccine and test vendors connect with schools city-wide

  • Interviewed by New York Times, NPR, Fox32/My50, WTTW, WBEZ, and Chicago Tribune 

  • Education Editor for Medium.com

Black Lives Matter Movement

  • Produced BLM At School Curricula for TV 

  • Created and produced public art and video segments

  • Wrote and produced PSA for BLM, aired on Fox32/My50

  • Interviewed by Glamour Magazine

LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL, LASALLE LANGUAGE ACADEMY

Roles

  • Chair, 2021-present

  • Secretary July - December, 2020

  • Co-Chair, Tech Committee July - December, 2020

  • City-wide LSC Solidarity Member, Support Raise Your Hand Advocacy

  • Support Regional LSC Advisory Board 

In service of core LSC Responsibilities:

  • As Secretary and Co-Chair Tech Committee:​
    • Supported Remote Learning Effectiveness and Access Survey

    • Lead 100% Device Access Campaign for Remote Learning

    • Lead 100% WiFi Access Campaign for Remote Learning 

    • Lead Ward 43 and LLA Community Campaign for 'Hot Spots'

    • Supported High-Five Sports Camp | Socially Distant Play

    • Supported community access to LLA for Socially Distant Play

    • Supported Redesign Remote Learning Hub 

    • Created LLA Family Tech Support Guide 

    • Organized Effective LSC Member Training with LSC Relations to empower council member cooperation 

    • Organized Council Collaboration Training with Elesa Commerce

    • Supported council development of community commitments ​​

  • As Chair, facilitated successful LLA LSC collaborations on projects in alignment with LSC and CPS policies for completion and/or approval of:

    • Website Redesign project

    • Annual Principal Evaluation project 

    • Annual Budget

    • CIWP Pandemic Revision 

    • Review State of Equity Work in Progress at LaSalle

    • CIWP Training with CPS Network ILT

    • Formation of Equity & Diversity Committee 

    • Renewal of the principal's contract

    • Facility rentals to generate revenue for school

    • Revision of bylaws

    • Virtual meetings for equitable access and COVID-safety

    • Streamlining fundraising proposals and accounting reports for LLA

    • Ongoing commitment to COVID-safety mitigations

    • Ongoing commitment to CIWP alignment of:

      • Social and Emotional Learning 

      • Trauma support resources 

      • Positive Behavior Incentives, Restorative Student Discipline

      • MTSS, Interventions, Enrichment

      • Differentiated Instructional Practices

      • Culturally Relevant Teaching Practices

      • School Climate and Culture Goals​​

    • Ongoing commitment to supporting EDC 

    • Ongoing commitment to supporting Principal Evaluation Project

    • Ongoing commitment to supporting budget alignment to CIWP

FRIENDS OF LASALLE, LASALLE LANGUAGE ACADEMY 

School Support 

  • Organize and support grade level connection & communication

    • Create & update grade-level directories

    • Create & moderate Facebook & WhatsApp groups

    • Created K/2 Room Parent newsletter (2020-2021)

  • Supported LLA and FOL Communications 

  • Supported LLA and FOL Fundraising, Grant Writing, Securing Donations

  • Supported Playground Project Community Advocacy 

Teacher & Staff Support 

  • Room Rep for Veitch and Linden (2018-2019, 2021-2022)

  • Room Rep for Zaranko (2019-2020)
  • Virtual Room Rep through Summer 2020
  • Room Rep and parent support for Waller, Venegas, (2020-2021)

  • Parent support for Room Reps for Miller, Broecker (2020-2021)

  • Level 1 Volunteer for classrooms, field trips, lunch, recess, events

FOL Fine Arts Committee Member and Co-Chair

  • Created Kindergarten Voices Project

  • Organized Second City Arts Residency 

  • Organized Japanese Culture Center Arts Residency 

  • Organized Music Mondays mentorship with LPHS

  • Organized LLA Voices Project (grades K-2) - postponed by COVID-19

  • Supported Virtual LaSalle Talent Show 2020

  • Grant Writing

  • Ongoing Planning and Organization for Spring Arts Fest 2022 

  • Ongoing Support for LaSalle Fashion Show 2022

FOL Welcome Committee Member

  • Conducted School Tours [In-Person, Virtual] 

  • Conducted New Family Welcome Calls 

  • Organized New Family Outreach & Support 

  • Organized LLA Summer Social Campaign 

  • Create and moderate WhatsApp & FB groups

FOL Principal & Teacher Appreciation Committee Member & Co-Chair

  • Plan, publicize, organize, execute Teacher Appreciation Activities 

  • Organized Principal & AP Appreciation 2021-2022

  • Planning Teacher Appreciation 2021-2022

FOL Health Wellness Garden Committee Member

  • Support Zero Waste Initiative | Green Team 

  • Support Garden watering, community clean up 

  • Support Nutrition Classes 

 

LLA Special Event Volunteer 

  • Support at La Posada 

  • Support at Field Day, Long Distance Classic, 50 Yard Dash

  • Organizer, K-3 COVID-Safe Halloween Event 2020

  • Campus Snow Shoveling (Feb 2022)