She’s busy helping the next generation of teachers and students flourish in the years to come
I am a biracial woman of color, and my parents were pioneers in the fight for interracial marriage. Their union became legal in Virginia just days after the Supreme Court overturned the state’s anti-miscegenation law in the landmark Loving vs. Virginia case. My upbringing was influenced by my paternal grandparents, who were socialist activists fighting for workers’ rights in Harlem. They instilled in me strong values and a sense of purpose, shaping my understanding of success. My fear of mediocrity served as a powerful motivator for me, and I have channeled this fear into my pursuits.
Growing up, dinner table conversations revolved around equity and justice, fueling my desire to challenge institutions and rebuild broken systems. This led me to pursue an advanced degree in public policy, as I believed that understanding the power structures behind these systems was essential for their reconstruction. My work has flourished at the intersections, as an entrepreneur, nonprofit advocate, activist, founder, funder, urban farmer, yoga instructor, board member, chair, and advisor. Without question, my most important role is as a parent, which is teaching me patience and humility. While my role as a mother is the most important one in my life, I am called to the work that I do to honor my ancestors and the sacrifices they endured.
Some of my most interesting and challenging work was in the decade I spent in urban government, where I served as chief of staff to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and senior appointee to DC Mayor Anthony Williams and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. In the private sector, I represented the only minority-owned Major League Soccer team (at the time), DC United, in their negotiations with Maryland and Washington, DC to build a new stadium, which was completed in 2018.
Some of my most rewarding work has been supporting youth and in education. I helped create DC’s largest urban farm, helping residents in public housing to grow their own food. Without access to healthy food, young minds cannot learn. I am proud of the thousands of teachers in a national program I created who worked as elected members of their communities to increase equity in education. The program supported former teachers transitioning into public office, empowering them to advocate for 26 million school children across the nation. In my current role at Study.com, I lead the company’s social impact work and have the privilege of innovating to address systemic inequities to increase educational equity and enhance student outcomes. I am most proud of our Keys to the Classroom program, which assists aspiring teachers in preparing for and passing their licensure exams, strengthening the diversity of America’s teacher pipeline, thus giving underserved students increased self-confidence and opportunity for success.