I've been working at the intersection of education and policy for over 20 years and have been focused on improving school boards locally and nationally for the past 7 years.
I began my career as a unionized teacher and then school leader before working in leadership at the central office of both a large urban school district and one of the nation's fastest growing charter management organizations.
I then joined as a Partner at Education Cities, a national non-profit working at the city level to coordinate the efforts of Districts, Mayor's offices, foundations, nonprofits and c4s to build high quality systems of schools for all students.
In each of these roles, I was trying to figure out how to solve an unacceptable reality that I encountered in my first teaching job in a grossly overcrowded and resource-poor school, located in a similarly resource-deprived neighborhood of a major urban school district - the reality that your zip code often dictates your educational opportunities and that adult decision-makers and policy-makers allow that reality to persist even though we have the knowledge and resources to end such inequities if we are brave enough to do so.
I was elected to the Bend-LaPine School Board in 2017 (one of the largest 3% of districts in the country) and quickly realized three things: 1) I was finally in the decision-making and policy-making role to fix many of the systemic inequities I had been advocating for; 2) I didn’t know how to effectively use the unique role of school board member to make the necessary systemic policy change; and 3) There was a lack of high quality training and support for school board members focused on equity, systemic policy change, and empowering rather than disempowering school board members.
Luckily I was connected with my future co-Founder Ethan Ashley, who was having similar realizations on his school board on the other side of the country, and School Board Partners was born.
I have since been re-elected to a second term, was the Chair of the Board through the height of the pandemic and led my District to be the first large district in Oregon to return to in-person learning, while also hiring a new Superintendent during the pandemic. As co-Chair I passed a Board Resolution for Equity and Anti-racism that kicked off significant efforts to close the achievement and opportunity gaps in my District. I co-led the effort to add Student Representatives to our board. I have also helped to build a local ecosystem to recruit and elect eight new members to the board during my tenure, who are more diverse and representative of the students they serve.
While at School Board Partners, I have co-authored Empty Seats at Powerful Tables and Empowered Governance as well as numerous blogs and articles on school board governance.
I am also the co-founder and co-owner of two local small businesses with my husband – a coworking space and entrepreneur lab focused on entrepreneurs and small business owners who are underrepresented, and an industry-leading event management company.
I graduated with a BA in Education from the University of Portland and hold an MBA from Boston University. I am an alumnus of the Broad Residency in Urban Education and the Education Pioneers Fellowship and I am currently a Pahara Fellow and a New Deal Leader. My experiences with these fellowships and other communities of practice help drive my passion for the need for similar learning experiences in the school board sector.
I live in Bend Oregon with my husband and two amazing children who attend public schools in the district where I serve today and where I attended K-12 many years ago.