What initiative are you currently working on?
I’m currently focused on developing a 5-year strategic growth plan that outlines KIPP Texas’ approach to expansion while aligning to our recently revised mission, vision and values. The plan will include decisions around the school model, talent and the communities we will serve and will lay the foundation for a culture of equity. We are currently conducting visioning exercises and interviews to understand and capture the desires and voices of students, staff, parents, the community and professionals to inform our efforts towards designing the school components that make a KIPP school a KIPP school. It’s been an important undertaking and we’ve already heard from 5,000 stakeholders about the future they imagine for KIPP.
What is the most exciting potential outcome of this initiative?
Our goal is to create positive, safe and nurturing learning environments that stimulate and inspire students and staff to reach their full potential. One outcome I’m particularly excited about is that by reaching out to students and families that may not have had a choice or a voice in the past, we are providing them with a channel through which to advocate for change, equity, options and opportunity.
What is your vision for your organization in the next five years?
As we build our strategic plan, our vision is to be one of the highest-performing and largest school networks in the state of Texas so as to allow all students – no matter the neighborhood, zip code or city – the opportunity to attend a school that nurtures their individual gifts, talents and learning. We are working for all students to have the skills to pursue college, a career and to live choice filled lives. Across the entire state, we seek to attract, retain and develop extraordinary talent whether in the classroom or leadership to ensure that every student in every classroom receives a leader equipped with the skills, knowledge and passion to academically, socially and emotionally prepare them for a bright future.
What inspires you to do this work?
I come from a long legacy of educators. My mother, grandmothers, grandfather and aunts were all educators and stressed the importance of education. Whether at home or in school, we were surrounded by a positive learning environment that taught us to think big without limits and seek ways to make a difference, whenever and however the opportunity presents itself. As I lead the efforts to design our approach to growth, develop our school model and determine the communities we can serve, I am excited to work in partnership with our leaders and supporters to bring a positive environment to the students in my home state and even hometown.
What is the last education-related book you read?
Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools (Soo Hong) presents a case study assessment to demonstrate the importance of parent and community engagement as a deliberate and purposeful process.
Keeping the Promise? (Leigh Dingerson) is a collection of essays that analyze thought-provoking perspectives on the charter school movement, the balanced view of daily realities and the common commitment of providing equitable public schools and education for all students.
I have really enjoyed both books as they have informed and fostered my desire to build a supportive network with our communities, new and existing, as we grow and work to enhance the desired outcomes for our children, families and communities.