Day in the Life
Damon Vaughan

About Damon

Damon Vaughan
The Broad Residency 2016-2018
Senior Product Manager
Cardinal Health, Inc.

While working as a Broad Resident, Damon Vaughan served as Director of Marketing and Communications with KIPP San Antonio.

 
2
Sep 29
6:30 a.m.

I wake up and check Google alerts and local media sites for any stories related to KIPP San Antonio Public Schools. This is a daily routine so I can notify our central office leadership team and board of directors of any important news as soon as possible.

7:00 a.m.

I get in a brief cycle on my exercise bike while watching local news. This allows me to learn more about the community and stay abreast of any news pertaining to our organization while sneaking in a short workout. If I’m lucky I have a few minutes to talk to my wife before she heads off for work, she also works at KIPP San Antonio teaching dance at two of our schools.

7:30 a.m.

Today, I drive to our newest campus, KIPP Cevallos, to prepare my project team for an upcoming ribbon cutting event. We are one week away from the event and several items on the project plan need to be finalize

8:00 a.m.

The drive to Cevallos takes about 20 minutes. One of the things I love about San Antonio is that everything is relatively close, unlike my one and a half hour commute to work in Chicago. During my commute I usually listen to some combination of NPR, BBC or Joel Osteen. This is also my time to catch up on phone calls and grab some breakfast tacos.

8:30 a.m.

This morning’s meeting includes a rehearsal for the fundraising event taking place the day before the ribbon cutting event. This is the last of several weekly project team meetings and includes staff from the central office. I ask members of the operations and transportation teams to play the role of guest and walk the travel routes. This way we can identify potential pitfalls and make plans to address them. The rest of the project team, consisting of our development and marketing & communications staff, joins me as we walk our CEO and chief of staff through the meeting space.

9:45 a.m.

The project team reconvenes in the auditorium to go through the run of show for the ribbon cutting event. We analyze every aspect of the event from speeches to student performances to A/V set-up. We go through two rehearsals to develop an event punch-list. Before I leave campus, I swing by my wife’s class to say a quick hello.

10:30 a.m.

I drive back to the central office to prepare for a meeting. On the way, I grab lunch at one of the local Mexican restaurants. San Antonio has amazing Mexican cuisine.

11:00 a.m.

Back at my desk, I catch up on email and address time sensitive questions about the launch of our new campaign for student recruitment. I also make time to connect with co-workers. I am fortunate to have a pleasant work environment where people are friendly and enjoy each other’s company. It’s nice to learn more about my colleagues and share new experiences with them.

12:00 p.m.

Normally I work through lunch and eat at my desk; today I do so while joining an online meeting. The KIPP Foundation hosts monthly online meetings to share updates and give guidance to regional offices. It’s a great way to stay connected to other regions and exchange best practices. This month we focus on how to implement best practices for collecting story ideas from our schools and review a new resource for integrating new messaging.

1:00 p.m.

My direct report and I meet with our CEO and chief of staff to review our proposed strategy and content for an upcoming district all-staff meeting. Over the summer my team was given the responsibility of managing the monthly all-staff meetings which serve as professional development for our employees. This month’s topic is race and equity, which is a sensitive yet important subject to discuss. The objective of this meeting is to reach alignment on our proposed strategy and content. The next step is to gain alignment with the school leader who will deliver the content at the staff meeting.

2:00 p.m.

I go outside for a walk while checking email, returning phone calls and checking social media. We post content several times a week on Facebook, Instagram and occasionally Twitter. I try to get outside a couple of times a day to get some fresh air while catching up between meetings. The warm weather is definitely a selling point for Texas!

2:30 p.m.

I head back to my desk and put the finishing touches on my Broad assignment for the next Residency session. I want to ensure my assignment is submitted before the deadline later today.

3:00 p.m.

I meet with my direct report to do our weekly progress update. We review content he drafted for the ribbon-cutting speakers and next steps for the all-staff meeting content. He shows me an amazing time lapse video he created of our Cevallos campus. He had a vision for the video and woke up at 4:00 a.m. to capture the sun rising over Cevallos! We close by discussing a proposal from our high school journalism team to launch their own social media handle. I love our ambitious students!

4:00 p.m.

I finalize our new student enrollment application, we have versions in English and Spanish. and send it to the student recruitment team for approval. Our department takes the lead on collateral and forms used for recruiting new students and families each school year.

I then coordinate with a representative of the Mays Foundation to secure an official bio for one of the speakers for the ribbon cutting event. This information will be used to develop the event program and talking points for her speech at the ceremony.

6:00 p.m.

I drive to the east side of San Antonio to join the Second Baptist Community Center board meeting. I was asked to fill in for our school leader who called in sick this morning.

6:30 p.m.

I make a pitch to the board of directors at Second Baptist to lease their community center for our new middle school opening next school year. We have 45 minutes to present our case for KIPP and answer questions. The audience is 10 to 15 people and includes community center board members, church trustees and the reverend.

8:00 p.m.

I call our CEO and director of growth to fill them in on the board meeting on the ride home.

8:30 p.m.

Over dinner my wife and I talk about how our days went then watch a little television.

9:30 p.m.

I hop on my laptop and phone to catch up on world events and personal social media accounts.

10:30 p.m.

It’s bedtime.

3
Mar 27
6:30 a.m.

Today is the San Antonio Mayoral Town Hall on Education. Approximately two months ago, our chief executive officer approached me with an idea to host the town hall at one of our schools to get mayoral candidates talking about education issues. Since that day, I’ve led a cross-functional team to plan every detail of the event. Before going to work, I send email reminders to the volunteers about the run-of-show and attire.

7:00 a.m.

I get ready for work. I’m carpooling with my wife, so we need to leave the house early enough for her to set up her dance class before students arrive.

7:30 a.m.

Typically, our carpool is reserved for conversation, but I need to do my daily scan of media sites for any stories about KIPP San Antonio Public Schools. I find one about the town hall in a prominent local paper. I send an email to our board of directors and central office leadership team summarizing the article. I include a link to the story and a plug to attend the event.

8:00 a.m.

I drop off my wife at her school and drive to the office for a busy day with a healthy dose of the unexpected.

8:10 a.m.

I catch up on email, fielding ticket requests for the sold-out town hall. I coordinate with my direct report who is managing the ticketing progress. I talk on the phone with a kindergarten teacher from a neighboring district who wants to ask a question at the town hall, walking her through the question approval process and informing her of next steps. I then email the event moderator to provide a status update, including confirmed audience questions and participants.

9:45 a.m.

To ensure the mayoral candidates have a place to relax and prepare, we set up areas for each campaign to convene. Each “green room” must be supplied with refreshments and near restrooms. During this time, I coordinate with the team to ensure each room is set up and the guides are ready. The green rooms are located in the elementary school, so we’ve assigned volunteers to serve as guides to help the candidates get to and from their respective green rooms.

10:30 a.m.

I finalize and distribute a contact sheet for the town hall steering team and volunteers, who will serve as our on-site response team. This one-page document contains single points of contact for every critical workstream. In the event of a time-sensitive question or concern during the event, this will serve as a quick reference guide for immediate action.

11:00 a.m.

I address more emails. As I check my inbox, it occurs to me that my other projects have not ceased while I have focused on the town hall. The manager of the Mexican national soccer team will host a soccer clinic at our campus in a few weeks. I have been working with his team to coordinate media engagement for the event. I use this time to connect with his team to clarify details leading up to the event so I can draft a press release and potentially plan a press conference.

12:00 p.m.

When hosting a major event, it is essential to make accommodations for special guests. For the town hall, we are expecting superintendents or executive directors from 10 neighboring school districts, event sponsors, board members and esteemed politicians — most notably, former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro. I use this time to work with members of my steering committee to ensure each VIP guest is greeted immediately upon arrival.

2:00 p.m.

It’s time to put my game face on. I head to the school to check on the event setup. I confer with steering team members on final arrangements for four exhibit tables, two for the candidates, one for Spanish translation devices and one for a local newspaper.

I jump on a conference call with the moderator to align on outstanding topics including audience participation cues, timing for relaying questions to him from Facebook Live viewers and technology assistance for his tablet.

4:00 p.m.

I receive a call from a local television station requesting an interview with someone from the event. I contact my CEO to coordinate a 5:30 p.m. interview and begin drafting his talking points.

The interview goes well, and the event is about to start. In my experience, it is uncommon to receive advanced notice for media requests. If you can make it happen, it is usually worth the effort.

I shift gears and join a briefing meeting with the police officers hired for event security to discuss how they would handle any potential protesters with minimal event disruption.

6:30 p.m.

It’s show time! We have good audience engagement from those in attendance as well as on social media. Only one protester showed up, but fortunately nothing overshadowed the event.

8:00 p.m.

It’s time to wrap up. I touch base with reporters to determine when their stories are expected to run. I coordinate with remaining staff on the tear-down of equipment and chairs. I thank everyone involved and congratulate them on a job well done.

8:45 p.m.

I head home with a great sense of accomplishment and relief.

9:30 p.m.

I eat dinner and crash. I mentally prepare to manage the post-event media tomorrow.

4
May 25
6:15 a.m.

I wake up and check my phone for news alerts. I look for any stories related to KIPP San Antonio Public Schools or our CEO. If such a story arises, timely notification of critical news to our central office leadership team and Board of Directors is expected no later than 8:00 a.m.

I check on my daughter, Sasha, to see how she is doing. She’s just over a month old and still acclimating to her new surroundings. Seeing her smile is the best way to start my day.

7:30 a.m.

I head to work. I am excited because today I am meeting with the newest member of my team. I was recently given responsibility to manage two additional departments: student recruiting and advocacy & community engagement. This will be my first conversation with the manager of student recruiting. My introductory meetings are typically more personal and informal, so I decided to meet at a coffee shop for a relaxing environment.

8:00 a.m.

I order breakfast and get settled. We start the meeting with the primary objectives of getting to know each other and establishing norms for a meaningful, productive work relationship. We share our leadership stories to learn about our personal and professional journeys to KIPP San Antonio. We review each other’s StrengthsFinder and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to understand how we operate and ways we can best work together. Finally, we discuss work and communication styles to get a sense of how we can best support each other while embracing our unique qualities.

9:00 a.m.

I check on a fellow Broadie to see how her first weeks have gone, professionally and personally. Over the past few months, I’ve been corresponding with a Broad Residency candidate interested in marketing and communications. I was excited to hear that she joined KIPP Houston as the new director of marketing. We discuss what it’s like transitioning to a new organization and compare notes on how our respective marketing and communications departments operate.

10:15 a.m.

I arrive at KIPP Poder Academy to interview the school leader for an article in a new external newsletter our marketing & communications manager is creating for our development team. I am writing the lead story for the newsletter, which is aimed at our donors and advocates. The story highlights our emphasis on school culture, specifically character building and restorative practices

11:30 a.m.

I drive to the central office. I catch up on email, checking my inbox for tasks requiring immediate action. I notice an email from the superintendent of Great Hearts Academies. We met the previous evening at a “shark tank” event to pitch an online school finder initiative, which would mean joint collaboration across charters and district schools. He expresses an interest in continuing our conversation about how our organizations can meet the needs of educationally underserved communities.

I switch gears to update a media statement I drafted for our CEO to address an issue at one of our elementary schools. The first week of school is always a hectic time for our operations team. My team makes a concerted effort to anticipate and support any challenges that may require external communications.

Finally, I take care of a translation request for a parent letter regarding student handbooks dissemination. Spanish is the dominant language for a significant number of our families, so it’s imperative that school communication is accessible to everyone.

1:00 p.m.

It’s time for our monthly professional development meeting for central office staff. Today, we focus on a couple of areas: department planning deliverables and timelines and organizational core values. We spend the bulk of the time determining which core values our central office believes to be most important and how we can align on them.

3:00 p.m.

Every Friday afternoon, our chiefs meet to review tactical priorities for the week prior and ahead. I was recently brought into these meetings to provide perspective and guidance on how these priorities should be communicated, internally and externally. The meeting was productive and yielded immediate benefits. We established clear plans to address lessons learned from first week of school operations, preparation necessary to accommodate an upcoming meeting with Relay and guidance for communicating about a new internal performance matrix.

4:45 p.m.

Show me the money. I meet with our development team to discuss an important grant renewal. When I assumed responsibility for advocacy, this came with an open headcount funded by a grant from a major foundation. Our meeting focused on the criteria for the grant renewal and strategy to navigate the outcome of the decision.

5:30 p.m.

I head home to spend some time with my wife and daughter. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing the ones you love the most when coming home from work. It’s a nice way to go into the weekend.

6:00 p.m.

We welcome friends over to the house. Last year, I participated in an international exchange program focused on improving transatlantic relations. I formed good relationships with several fellows, including one from San Antonio, who brings his wife and son over to meet our daughter.

8:00 p.m.

We prepare Sasha for bedtime. Evenings with an infant can be entertaining and incredibly busy. I cannot overstate the amount of preparation required to transition a tiny human from one basic life event to another. My wife and I divide and conquer activities, including getting Sasha ready for bed and cleaning up after dinner.

9:15 p.m.

We finally have some down time for us to relax for a bit. We eat dinner, finish talking about our day and watch television. We hold our collective breaths that Sasha remains sleeping for at least a couple of hours.

5
Aug 11
6:15 a.m.

I wake up and check my phone for news alerts. I look for any stories related to KIPP San Antonio Public Schools or our CEO. If such a story arises, timely notification of critical news to our central office leadership team and Board of Directors is expected no later than 8:00 a.m.

I check on my daughter, Sasha, to see how she is doing. She’s just over a month old and still acclimating to her new surroundings. Seeing her smile is the best way to start my day.

7:30 a.m.

I head to work. I am excited because today I am meeting with the newest member of my team. I was recently given responsibility to manage two additional departments: student recruiting and advocacy & community engagement. This will be my first conversation with the manager of student recruiting. My introductory meetings are typically more personal and informal, so I decided to meet at a coffee shop for a relaxing environment.

8:00 a.m.

I order breakfast and get settled. We start the meeting with the primary objectives of getting to know each other and establishing norms for a meaningful, productive work relationship. We share our leadership stories to learn about our personal and professional journeys to KIPP San Antonio. We review each other’s StrengthsFinder and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to understand how we operate and ways we can best work together. Finally, we discuss work and communication styles to get a sense of how we can best support each other while embracing our unique qualities.

9:00 a.m.

I check on a fellow Broadie to see how her first weeks have gone, professionally and personally. Over the past few months, I’ve been corresponding with a Broad Residency candidate interested in marketing and communications. I was excited to hear that she joined KIPP Houston as the new director of marketing. We discuss what it’s like transitioning to a new organization and compare notes on how our respective marketing and communications departments operate.

10:15 a.m.

I arrive at KIPP Poder Academy to interview the school leader for an article in a new external newsletter our marketing & communications manager is creating for our development team. I am writing the lead story for the newsletter, which is aimed at our donors and advocates. The story highlights our emphasis on school culture, specifically character building and restorative practices.

11:30 a.m.

I drive to the central office. I catch up on email, checking my inbox for tasks requiring immediate action. I notice an email from the superintendent of Great Hearts Academies. We met the previous evening at a “shark tank” event to pitch an online school finder initiative, which would mean joint collaboration across charters and district schools. He expresses an interest in continuing our conversation about how our organizations can meet the needs of educationally under-served communities.

I switch gears to update a media statement I drafted for our CEO to address an issue at one of our elementary schools. The first week of school is always a hectic time for our operations team. My team makes a concerted effort to anticipate and support any challenges that may require external communications.

Finally, I take care of a translation request for a parent letter regarding student handbooks dissemination. Spanish is the dominant language for a significant number of our families, so it’s imperative that school communication is accessible to everyone.

1:00 p.m.

It’s time for our monthly professional development meeting for central office staff. Today, we focus on a couple of areas: department planning deliverables and timelines and organizational core values. We spend the bulk of the time determining which core values our central office believes to be most important and how we can align on them.

3:00 p.m.

Every Friday afternoon, our chiefs meet to review tactical priorities for the week prior and ahead. I was recently brought into these meetings to provide perspective and guidance on how these priorities should be communicated, internally and externally. The meeting was productive and yielded immediate benefits. We established clear plans to address lessons learned from first week of school operations, preparation necessary to accommodate an upcoming meeting with Relay and guidance for communicating about a new internal performance matrix.

4:45 p.m.

Show me the money. I meet with our development team to discuss an important grant renewal. When I assumed responsibility for advocacy, this came with an open headcount funded by a grant from a major foundation. Our meeting focused on the criteria for the grant renewal and strategy to navigate the outcome of the decision.

5:30 p.m.

I head home to spend some time with my wife and daughter. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing the ones you love the most when coming home from work. It’s a nice way to go into the weekend.

6:00 p.m.

We welcome friends over to the house. Last year, I participated in an international exchange program focused on improving transatlantic relations. I formed good relationships with several fellows, including one from San Antonio, who brings his wife and son over to meet our daughter.

8:00 p.m.

We prepare Sasha for bedtime. Evenings with an infant can be entertaining and incredibly busy. I cannot overstate the amount of preparation required to transition a tiny human from one basic life event to another. My wife and I divide and conquer activities, including getting Sasha ready for bed and cleaning up after dinner.

9:15 a.m.

We finally have some down time for us to relax for a bit. We eat dinner, finish talking about our day and watch television. We hold our collective breaths that Sasha remains sleeping for at least a couple of hours.

6
Dec 15
7:00 a.m.

Today is a slower start than normal. My daughter is sick and illness has spread throughout the household. I eventually start my daily routine of checking the phone for news alerts. I look for any stories related to KIPP San Antonio Public Schools or our leadership team. Any significant news requires timely notification to our central office leadership team and Board of Directors, which is expected no later than 8 a.m.

I check email to ensure there are no urgent issues requiring communications support. The Public Affairs Director at the KIPP Foundation requested data on the percent of students in San Antonio in charter schools versus district schools and I coordinate with a few people internally to secure this information.

8:00 a.m.

I head to work. Today is a very exciting day. After a recent structure change, I am now reporting to the CEO. Our first one-on-one meeting starts at 9 a.m. In preparation for the meeting, I developed a comprehensive agenda covering strategic priorities and work stream updates for my department as well as alignment on expectations.

8:30 a.m.

I arrive on campus, instead of heading to the central office. I drive to our Cevallos campus to prepare for a few meetings. My morning banter involves a lively conversation with teachers and staff about their weekend plans carefully avoiding any spoiler about the new Star Wars movie released last night. I check a few more emails before my meeting begins.

9:00 a.m.

I start my one-on-one meeting with my manager. I am not sure what to expect in our first meeting, so I prepare to briefly align on our workstyles, and then discuss key work streams for the next few weeks. I am pleasantly surprised that we spent the bulk of the meeting discussing management styles, the preferred method of communication, StrengthFinders and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to understand how we operate and ways we can best work together.

10:00 a.m.

I participate in a restorative practice circle at KIPP University Prep high school. KIPP San Antonio believes in a restorative approach to student discipline. A few students recently produced a video disparaging the school and uploaded it to YouTube. The counselor asked me if I would be willing to meet with the students to explain how their actions could negatively impact the marketing and recruiting efforts for the district.

11:00 a.m.

After the restorative circle, I met with the two counselors to share my perspective on the discussion. This isthe first time I have participated in such a practice. I am impressed by the willingness of the staff to hear the student’s perspective and reasons for their actions. I was also appreciative of the balance between the counselor’s ability to explore everyone’s feelings and his commitment to finding creative outlets for the students to express themselves more positively.

11:15 a.m.

I finish a FOIA research request. Last week our region received a request from an independent journalist to access records of correspondence on several search terms. The request did not include the rationale for the request, so I am researching the search terms provided to determine if there are any themes or intersectionality which might explain the reason for the request.

1:00 p.m.

I join a cross-departmental meeting. When I assumed the responsibility for Student Recruiting, I set up bi-weekly meetings with our Director of School Operations to align with priorities and work streams. She manages the Assistant School Leaders of Operations, Family & Community Coordinators, and Registrars who all play a role in the execution of Student Recruitment Initiatives. Today we focused on the following topics:

  • Enrollment for SY16-17
  • Recruiting for SY17-18
  • Waitlist applications
  • Expectations for time commitments of the team
  • Accuracy of applications by grade level
3:00 p.m.

I lead our department meeting. Each week I meet with my team individually to ensure I provide the right level of support for them to be successful. This week, we are focusing on important milestones to reach before the Christmas break. We reviewed messaging for our CEO communications, talking points for external partnerships and stakeholder engagement.

4:00 p.m.

I map out a to-do list for next week, which is the last week in the office for the calendar year. I need to make progress on a few things before the break:

  • Finalize the current draft of the communication plans and messaging for two partnerships
  • Set up mid-year performance review meetings with my team
  • Start my quarterly assignments for the Broad Residency
  • Request internal participation in my 360 assessment
5:00 p.m.

I head to daycare. One of the highlights of my day is seeing my daughter, Sasha, smile when I pick her up from daycare. She recently turned 5 months old and she is so adorable. I’m not biased or anything.

7:30 p.m.

We prepare Sasha for bedtime. This usually means a team effort. My wife typically handles bath time, prayer, and feeding. I usually focus on cleaning the dishes from dinner and Sasha’s bottles.

8:15 p.m.

Time for us. It’s been a long week and Friday is a chance to relax and connect. My wife teaches dance at our high school. Her students have a holiday performance on Tuesday. We spend some time discussing their progress and how excited she is to see them perform.

10:00 p.m.

It’s bedtime and I crash.

7
Jan 11
6:45 a.m.

I wake up and start my daily routine of checking online for any news stories related to KIPP San Antonio Public Schools. There are no new stories which means that I have an extra 15-30 minutes back in my day. Any significant news requires notification to our central office leadership team and Board of Directors by 8 a.m.

7:45 a.m.

Since my first meeting is offsite I take more time than usual going through email before leaving the house. I reach out to the Family & Community Coordinators at each of our schools to confirm that they sent out the parent letters informing our families of our plans to form a statewide region, KIPP Texas.

8:45 a.m.

I arrive at Univision where we are filming a television interview to raise awareness of our schools and drive enrollment for next school year. Student recruiting is a major area of support for my department. We spent the last couple of months working with Univision on media buying for TV, radio and digital. Today, our Student Recruiting Manager serves as the on-screen talent. We worked with him to write the script and rehearse his responses. He records three interviews flawlessly. Each interview lasted less than five minutes. The spots will run several times a week for three months leading up to our lottery.

10:45 a.m.

I arrive at the central office and it’s time for our weekly communications meeting with our CEO. This school year we have so many new initiatives and changes, I scheduled standing meetings to anticipate and plan for important communications to internal and external stakeholders.

I schedule an impromptu teleconference with the KIPP Foundation Communications team and our elementary school teacher, Maria Rocha, to prepare her for an interview about DACA with CBS Nightly News.

12:00 p.m.

It’s lunch time and I have developed a bad habit of eating at my desk while working. I check for updates about an upcoming event we are helping to organize for National School Choice Week. This effort involves collaborating with other charters across the state and Texas Quality Charters, an advocacy organization.

I also take a few minutes to register for the State of the District event for San Antonio Independent School District. SAISD is our neighboring district led by Superintendent Pedro Martinez, who is a 2009 Broad Academy alum.

1:00 p.m.

I connect with my team during our weekly check-ins to discuss progress, priorities and barriers. This meeting is focused on Marketing & Communications. We discuss our new Facebook advertising strategy and positive results seen with Google Adword click-through rates for our digital ads. We talk about progress on the new street banners for student recruiting and graphic design for the gratitude books for development.

2:45 p.m.

I meet with our Regional Leadership Team. We are experiencing a shortfall in a few grades across some schools in our district. We take a deep dive on enrollment data to determine which levers to pull including wait list utilization and revisiting zoning rules for recruitment. We reach an important decision to keep our school-based staff focused on recruiting for next school year while using other tactics to increase enrollment for current school year.

5:00 p.m.

It’s time to wrap up. I address a couple of questions from Univision about the placement of our website and phone number for the TV advertisement. Switching gears, I work on the reconciliation report for my business AMEX card – it seems like I get behind on this every month. Finally, I make sure my checklist for tomorrow is in place to finish the week on a strong note.

5:30 p.m.

I head to daycare. One of the highlights of my day is seeing daughter, Sasha, smile when I pick her up from daycare. She is still so adorable. I’m not biased or anything.

6:30 p.m.

We arrive home. I spend time playing with Sasha to make sure she gets in her tummy time. I wash some of her bottles to make sure her supplies are ready for the morning.

7:00 p.m.

It’s time for family. I give Sasha her dinner, she recently started eating solid food. Fortunately, she likes pureed vegetables!

My wife gets home. Sasha and I are both excited to see Kat. KIPP has extended school days, so she doesn’t get home until 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays.

8:00 p.m.

We prepare Sasha for bed. Kat gives Sasha a bath and the last bottle of the night.

8:30 p.m.

Once Sasha goes to sleep, we catch up on our days. We relax a little bit and watch some TV.

10:00 p.m.

It’s time to turn it in. We are expecting our 2nd child, so between the pregnancy and compact days we usually turn in early.

8
Final Thoughts

Why did you join The Broad Residency?

The inequities in the US disproportionately affect the trajectory of black and brown youth due to institutional discrimination and lack of access. I joined the Residency to make a positive impact for our children using, arguably, the bigger lever — education.

How is your work improving educational opportunities for the students in your system?

At KIPP San Antonio, we focus on educationally underserved students who do not have access to high quality schools in their community. My charge is to uphold and strengthen KIPP San Antonio Public Schools’ reputation, brand, and values by elevating our stories and messages to establish KIPP San Antonio as the educational organization of choice for students, families, staff, and donors.

What was the most important lesson you learned during the Residency?

Plant seeds. You have to continually invest in this work to make a difference. Some days will be great, some will feel impossible. What’s gets you through the difficult times is feeling like your contributions matter. Whether it’s taking on an helping a colleague complete a task or mentoring a student in need, find a way to make deposits in this work. When you look back you’ll understand that you are part of God’s plan.

Briefly describe your capstone project: What were your goals, what did you achieve and how did that impact or will it impact the organization?

The objective of my capstone was to establish a new standard for internal communications through organizational assessment, external benchmarking, and practical application. I took a holistic approach to internal communications by uncovering issues identified through quantitative and qualitative analysis and exploring solutions for more effective communications. Most of the deliverables were implemented, however concepts were developed as recommendations, as noted below:

  • Communication plan templates (implemented)
  • System for regular communication planning meetings (implemented)
  • Tools for securing feedback from staff (implemented)
  • Data dashboard (implemented)
  • Communication norms (recommendations)
  • Professional development resources (recommendations)

What was your vision for your career trajectory before you joined the Residency? How has it shifted?

When I started the Residency, I was solely focused on gaining experience, not career trajectory. As a newbie to the ed space, I have a lot to learn. The Broad Residency has greatly accelerated my learning curve, but I am still committed to seeking out opportunities that offer the breadth I need to understand the inner workings of public education, school systems, and the influencers. My perspective has remained unchanged throughout the Residency.

What will you miss most about being in the Residency?

The sessions — without a doubt. I will miss connecting with my cohort on a regular basis. Each time we met I left feeling more motivated and inspired. The sessions filled my emotional and intellectual tank. The Broad Center never disappointed in convening amazing leaders across the education landscape, which offered unparalleled access to current issues and strategies in ed reform.

What advice do you have for someone contemplating applying for the Residency? For new Residents?

For prospective Residents: This is hard work. If you are coming from the private sector, like myself, you will find this experience can test your will and patience in ways you didn’t expect. Make sure you know why you want to work in education and the type of impact you want to make. These reasons will be important to reflect during challenging times. Despite the times, I would not change a single thing about my experience. It’s worth it.

For new Residents: The journey line is real. You will have highs and lows during your two years, but remember that you are not alone when you are trending down. There are likely several others in your cohorts going through something similar. Ask for help. Be vulnerable. You have plenty of resources to help you through — your cohort, advisor, executive coach, and alumni are all here to support you.