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Lindsay: I am so excited to welcome Bronwyn Harcourt all the way from Australia onto the podcast today. For reference, this episode was recorded on September 27 in the United States, the 28th in Australia of 2021. Bronwyn is a principal at Croydon Community School, a position she has held for 21 years. Since 2008, Bronwyn has also managed a range of engagement, re-engagement and capacity building programs across Melbourne's eastern suburbs under the name of OPTIONS on behalf of the Department of Education and Training. In previous years, she also managed a re-engagement program for children and young people who had been forced from their homes by domestic violence. And another program that redirected impulsive and violent children so that they could engage in learning. Bronwyn was pivotal in developing a suite of martial arts therapy programs for children and young people, including peer education for students at Croydon Community school, teaching the code of: "Be Strong, Be Calm, Be Kind, Try Hard" to students at other schools and enabling them to adopt impulse management strategies into their lives. Croydon Community School is a proud member of the Big Picture Education network in Australia and passionately delivers personalized inclusive education for its students, meeting them at their point of need and interest.
The uniqueness of every student is valued and celebrated. Bronwyn's school is that every young person who graduates from Croydon will know their worth and make positive change in their worlds. In 2013, she was the D. E. T. Victorian Excellent Award Secondary Principal of the Year. She is widely recognized for her knowledge in effective education strategies for disengaged and at risk children and young people. Her sales are frequently sought out by schools, organizations, D.E.T. and government to contribute to their planning. Bronwyn is a fellow of Australian Council for Educational Leaders at both the Victorian and national branch level, was a finalist in Herald Sun Pride of Australia Medal in 2012. She was a board member of the Outer Eastern Local Learning Network for 13 years. A member of the ministerial advisory committee on out-of-home care at the invitation of Minister Mikakos and a member of the School Leaders for Gender Equality and Respect to Prevent Gender-based Violence and Sexism established by the education minister, the honorable James Merlino In 2017. She has a Master's in Education Administration, a graduate diploma in Special Education and her Bachelor's comes from health, physical education and recreation.
So excited to welcome on Bronwyn Harcourt.
Hi, I'm Lindsay Lyons and I love helping school communities envision bold possibilities, take brave action to make those dreams a reality, and sustain an inclusive, anti-racist culture where all students thrive. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach, educational consultant and leadership scholar. If you're a leader in the education world, whether you're a principal, superintendent, instructional coach or a classroom teacher excited about schoolwide change like I was, you are a leader and if you enjoy nerding out about the latest educational books and podcasts, if you're committed to a lifelong journey of learning and growth and being the best version of yourself, you're going to love the Time for Teachership podcast, let's dive in.
Bronwyn Harcourt, welcome to the Time for Teachership podcast.
Bronwyn: Thanks Lindsay.
Lindsay: I'm so excited to have you on and I read your professional bio at the start of the episode. But is there anything else that you want to say to further either introduce yourself or to share more details about, you know, the school that you work on, the students that you serve?
Bronwyn: I think the biggest thing for me is that it's never what one person does, it's how a team operates together and how they enable others to do that work collaboratively. So for me, it's whatever it is that in my achievements. I actually am not particularly fond of sharing and celebrating them. My celebrations are more about what the young people have been through my school have achieved and what they continue to achieve. So yeah.
Lindsay: That's beautiful. I love that and it's very much in the spirit of kind of what we, what we talked about on the podcast too, in the realm of shared leadership and all of that. So that's perfect as we think about like the dreams that we all hold and kind of what we're all striving for as we work in these educational spaces. I love Dr Bettina Love's quote about freedom dreaming, she says their dreams grounded in the critique of injustice.
I just find that really powerful and with that in mind, you know, I'd love to ask you, what is the big dream that you hold for the field of education.
Bronwyn: That whatever school young people go to, that they are treated as individuals and not factory fodder, that then they become more engaged in their learning, more interested in it, more curious, more wanting to find out what's out there, more like 4-year olds than right, that love of learning that we knock out of them. And I guess that, you know, the big dream I hold is that we have more creative, persistent, brave, courageous leaders who are willing to say, hang on, I hear what you're telling me to do, but the people I actually serve are the young people and it's them who I need to be.
Making sure that I'm translating whatever it is that you want me to do into something that is useful to them and not just to you think that, you know. I work in the public school and I very much hold that I serve the public and as much as it is, the bureaucrats who pay my salary and send me the policies and complaints and whatever it else that is that they wanted said, it is the students who I serve. And you know, that the community that they form and that we try and build so that when they leave, they the biggest qualities that they take away, that they are change makers in their local communities. Like they raise happy healthy children, that they make others feel good, that they are happy in what it is that they want to be pursuing in their life, that they have a choice.
And I think for me that's probably, I'm very much a "values driven later" rather than a "we must all reach this point". And look, I can advertise that my school has got 95% of its students to the... In Australia, We have ATAR which is for university entry. You know, but those things to me, it's there's so many bad things that have resulted in schools reaching that point that I would like them to not that not be the way that I leave my school. So yeah, that it changes. I guess that's my big dream, that it changes, that young people walk out their front door to whatever school they choose to go to and it provides for them wholeheartedly in everything that they individually mean.
No, not on the basis of equality or equity, but on the basis of inclusion. So yeah.
Lindsay: Thank you so much for sharing that dream. And it makes me think of a couple questions I think related to one another. So one is, I love that you said you're a values driven leader. And so I'm almost wondering typically the next question I ask is you know, what mind shifts are required? So like we're thinking about someone coming from that traditional, maybe school, like you're saying we want to change from what it has historically been. Are there like mindset shifts that someone has to undergo as they come into your school and have this more like personalized approach to teaching and giving those students that choice? You know, is there something that they undergo? And then I think a related question is or I don't know if this is an and or but do you end up hiring for the values that teachers bring into the school and see if those are truly aligned with how the values that you hold as a school and how you lead?
Bronwyn: We actually put in our jobs advertisement that at the very front, this job is not for everyone and we have to do it through it.
There's a system called recruitment online that my department requires us to advertise all through and after their normal gulf, we put: this position is not for everyone. We are looking for a teacher with the qualities of and usually, you know, we'll list particular qualities because we're not, I don't even want everyone to have the same qualities because, I have a very diverse student cohort and much like a baseball team that's full of pitchers, there's no one to catch the balls or field them more bat. So we need that diversity of strength in order to be able to provide for a diversity of students. And to remind all of us on staff that there are other perspectives as well and an important one.
I think that the biggest mindset shift is to go from closed to open. That's, you know, just that very simple one of, and no, we can't what one incredibly powerful word. I think it's, you know, it's like yet, and sometimes new staff go: What? yet, we can't do that yet. What steps can we put in place in order to make that happen? Because that's what, you know, that's our end goal. But sometimes it is, it can be confusion I think in their minds and just trying to bring it down to concrete ideas that they can relate to. So, an example I was using just in the last term with the staff members, they were feeling really frustrated and we are officially the most lockdown city on the planet,
and in our sixth lockdown. So we've got staff at the moment who are exhausted trying to deliver and not just trying, but delivering personalized, individualized learning, remotely to highly vulnerable young people. And, you know, there's just got to the point where, you know, I can't, and I just said to them : I know what drives you is, at home and it's 20 km away. Yet you ride in a bike here to get here every day. And if I said to you that the bike track was blocked at a particular point, what would you do? And you'd say, well, I'd go around it this way and what if that ways blocked? Well, I'd find another way around because your ultimate goal is to be at home with your children and your wife or your love. And he said, yeah, and I said, well, it's the same thing here.
We don't have to change our goal. We just look and go, oh, there's a barrier, can I get over this or around it? Or do I, you know, reroute completely. So I think that the, that yet is important. How can we not, why can't we? And you know, it doesn't mean everything is always possible. Sometimes it can be, it's like, he was like, yeah, I really still want to do that, but at this point in time, I don't have everything in place to progress it and it just becomes about the low pocket. It doesn't go away. I just park it and approach it as much as I can and then come back to it. You know, never forget about it. Just constantly come back, to have exercise books that just got ideas written on the front of them. And I started those in like the 1980s and I look at them and I see how, okay, so you have done that, we've done that, we've got that grounded.
That's right. We want to do that or you were getting closer to that. But I noticed how my values have never changed over that period. Like they've constantly been, even though I've been in different schools and different systems, even that my values haven't changed. So, but yeah, I think that close to open and add the word 'yet' to most responses that you have.
Lindsay: That's excellent. Yeah, that's excellent. I love that, add the word. 'yet', close to open. I also love, there's so much in what you just shared that. I love your ideas book. I found that I never thought of it like that, but I find little scraps of paper that I had written ideas on and collect them and there's so much value in looking back on them to be able to say "I succeeded in this". And I just think that would be a really cool practice for colleagues and also for students to be able to just have those reflective moments, thinking about specific brave actions that either colleagues could take, leaders could take.
What would you recommend people do as they're kind of working towards this dream that you've described and doing these, you know, shifts from closed to open and using words like 'yet' at the end of responses? What are the specific steps that you would encourage someone listening to this episode, who's like, yeah, I'm ready to start doing that stuff, but I just don't know what it looks like in practice. What would you say to those folks?
Bronwyn: I think that the changes before you say them in practicing what you're doing, they have to be in within yourself, within your own mind, so that it's too hard, has to leave vocabulary. I think that the question becomes more: is this the right thing to do? Yes, then that's what I'm going to do, even though it's hard and to me, I find that it can leave you very much alone, I guess, or by yourself and sometimes you're the one standing there and everyone else is a little bit shy or nervous about coming forward because there is a cost, and everyone is doing it, they have to assess what their cost is.
So the cost for a young teacher maybe, well, you know, I can make these changes in my classroom. I'm not at this point where I'm changing the system, but you're changing everything for those students in your classroom. So you are changing the system and their ability to speak up versus mine, I guess? And I go, is this the right thing to do? And for me, the loss of stepping off that, what's the right thing to do is a greater cost for me personally, because I live with me. So that's a greater cost personally than other things. You know, for others, it may be, well, you know, but this is what I do without this pay and I can't keep arguing this argument and you know, and my principle is never going to change the way they think and those around me aren't as well.
What elements do you have control of? Do you get to choose where you work? Yeah, you do. And do you get to choose whether you're happy or not? Well, if you don't take control of that, nobody else is going to be like, hey, it's my job to make you happy. It's like, it's not, it might be a clown's job to make you laugh but not happy. So those things I think about, you know, going internally before you go externally. And then just the smallest little theme, what's, if people think what's, I can't do all these big grandiose things. Like what's the smallest thing you could change tomorrow morning? Right now that would make that change? Just to start with the tiniest little thing you could do and it might be, notice the kid who doesn't want to be noticed, just hi, how are you?
Just, yeah, it might be Lindsay how's it going? Keep walking, don't wait for a response and just say that over and over and over again and you know, because barriers will take a long time to break down. And speak up in a staff meeting. If that's what you want to do, nod your head in a staff meeting and if you normally sit there and trying to blend into the background. But I think, ask yourself different questions: what, as a teacher who needs your attention most? Who's communicating to you that they need your attention more? And usually that's the young person who is communicating in the most inappropriate way. And then as a principal, I look and I say, okay, so my classes, my staff, I'm responsible for the success and I have this on the wall in my office : I am success...
"I'm responsible for the success of every student in my school". So if someone is not achieving success, then that's on me. So, and I have to analyze the data and it might be, well, it's what approaches are we putting in place to connect with this young person and to connect them to what it is they need? And then I have to step in and provide what it is that's needed to do that. How do we we get in place? So modeling, just constant modeling, but so much has to change. I think that being disruptor take the view from those who serves these students. Do what's right, even when it's hard. And I guess that you know how you practice doing what's right, even when it's hard when you've got a choice between donuts and apples. What's, I really want that one, but I'm gonna take the apple. So but yeah, I think that's the yeah, they're not to me, they're not actions as in, here's a playbook step one, you do this. Step two, you do that.
It's you know, what are your morals? What are your character strengths? What are the ones that you need to build on? what people do you need to draw around you to make sure that you've got a strong team in place. What are you short on? How do you, where do you find what it is that you need to add that? There's no one person can be everything to everyone and you know, it's like I've been at my school for 21 years now and just ticked over, happy birthday. And I guess, you know, I'm going to change the world, change the planet and do all this stuff and it's like, it's not revolution, its evolution, its every step forward. And sometimes it can be a very uncomfortable place to be in being that person and but it comes back to what does my moral compass tell me I must do? Tell me in order for me to be comfortable with me. So, that's, you know, people say : why do you do what you do? It's right thing to do.
So I think I've offered for you Lindsay, sorry about that.
Lindsay: No, that was brilliant, thank you so much. And I'm curious to know, I think one of the things I was really excited about to talk to you. Mitch, who is the person who connected us, has said, oh my gosh, she has so many great stories. She has so many stories of student success or you know, school success. And I think one of the things that I think sometimes as educators and leaders, we often focus on like, what can still change, which is great because we absolutely need to do that., I love that evolution piece that you brought in right, it's one step at a time, we're constantly evolving and changing. Are there some success stories that you would want to share around, like a practice that really had a great impact or just something that kind of fits with the dream that you described in some sort of success towards that dream that you want to share with listeners?
Bronwyn: I think persistence and that on character strengths, which is something that I'd been quite passionate about in positive education for quite a while. As in before I knew that there were things, the persistence is my top character strength and I know that means I will show up and I will keep doing and I'll keep doing it, I will keep doing. But I also have learnt the hard way that my greatest character weakness is persistence because I will keep showing up and I will keep doing and I'll keep doing it, I'll keep doing and it's made me unwell in the past.
And so I had to learn about, well you got some other character strengths as well, it's not just about that one, you need to be using the others as well. I am a storyteller because I think people relate well to stories. But the success is for me have, you know, it's not the theory of blah blah blah blah, it's the story of David or the story of Colleen or the story of Matthew. And just knowing what they were, who they were as children when they started with us and then you know, watching them just open up and blossom. So yeah, there's on our school website, there's some stories there. So you know, a young man Matthew who when he commenced with us was very shy. There's a lot of kids that come to us have been really badly bullied and excluded by others and teased constantly,
you know, for their differences and rather than having their uniqueness celebrated, so, you know, he could be lots of what we're seeing with others is that they look to be invisible when they first come in. And so you'll see that there's the cap on and then the hoodie over the top and the heads down and it's just that, you know, giving them the chance to trust you. I don't deserve trust or respect because I'm the school principal or I'm an adult or anything else. I have to earn those things and I have to earn them every day through, you know, fairness and treating each person in the same way, which is not everyone gets treated the same. It's, everyone gets what they need when they want it, when they need it.
So I think that watching them blossom over the years is the, yeah, new staff come in and they'll come in and we've got a whole bunch of Year seven, so Grade 7 to a previously been excluded from attending their primary schools. They weren't allowed in for full days. They would be restricted from the yard because they would behave poorly in the yard and we've taken the view of, well, let's teach them how to behave in the yard and let's spend less time in the classroom and more time on personal social capabilities and get them ready for learning. And the staff in there who were new to the school and they're driving me crazy. It's like why can't we have more kids like those other kids who are up there? Why can't we have more like them? And it's just like, well those kids up there were them 4, 5 years ago.
It's just, you know, it's taken them 12 years to get in this position where they were at, so we can't expect just a magic flick of a magic wand or fairy dust or whatever to change it. And if that is what would change it, then, you know, but you're not responsible for the change. And I just want to present every young person with the the possibility of change when they're ready. And that means over and over and over again. Yeah, lots of funny stories over the years. I think I told Mitch about one was a young man. His name's Robbie and he was tiny tiny. He came from a background of domestic violence and seeing his mum pretty well bashed by numerous significant men in his life.
And he started, he just would hang out with some other kids who were enrolled in the school and he was... think it's great six, five or six. We started just appearing on site. It's like obviously not connected with another school. So, and it was just kind of there and I tried to speak to him and he was just in terror constantly and used to climb up on the building's little monkey climb up the, it's set the roof on the toilet block that was like high edge, but then it was a sunken space and they've got some cushions from hard rubbish or something and put them up there and so when class was on, he'd screwed up there and I didn't even know he was doing this to start with, but he just nestle in to his little cubby until the kids came back out of class again or and go and hide in the corner in the classroom and just let him be leave him be, we know he's there, it's okay, he's safer here. And he, you know, slowly connected in and rather than me try and speak with him, I'd just say to the kids just can you get him get him to get off the roof.
Do that, can we check that? He's not, you know, he's not about to set fire to that, those cushions up there because he's smoking up on top. And then, you know, he came down and he could see him and you know, the first time you see him smile, it just, it just hits you. It's just like, wow, that's such an open beautiful face. And then he became this, you know, the kid that doesn't know their leader, but everybody follows them. He had this little bunch of kids following him everywhere around and they were allowed up the street, this is a long time ago they were allowed up the street at recess to get something and they... I used to go up every morning and buy chocolate milk in the cardboard containers. And there was a younger student who would follow him, meet him at the gate every morning, coming back in and hi Robbie, can I have some of the milk and have some of your milk and just ignore him.
And then one day he, you know, decided he'd give it to him, give him some but he's picked up an old nail and put it on the in the container just as a, you know, like a joke or whatever. As soon as you rattle that you knew something was in there. But he kept talking while he was while he was walking and then he put the container on the ground and he stomped it to flatten it and managed to drive the nail right through his foot, his own foot and pin the container to his foot. And all I could hear was this screaming and then go outside and someone's trying to pull the container off his foot and he just scooped him up and took him into first aid because he was so tiny and just put his foot on my shoulder while we culture an ambulance because we couldn't transport him and hit his foot from him but just you know, and he was a daily user of marijuana.
So you know just talking to him and ambulance arrive and they come with the magic green sticks, do you have those in America?
Lindsay: I don't think so, I don't know.
Bronwyn: They're whistles that have painkiller in them. So they tell you to breathe on them. And some people, very funny blue beads. So anyhow he was only taking short breaths in on it and the the ambulance officer kept saying to him, you need to take deep breaths, you need to take deep breaths. And I said to him like you do with your bong and the ambos looked at me and was like just ignore it just and he went Robby went and took a big breath in and just you know it's just that you've got to say or provide what the right thing is at the right time, not condoning him smoking marijuana and I but for him in his language in his world that made sense.
So you know he managed to miss everything important all bongs and stuff. They just pulled the nail out of his foot. He turned up to school the next day with the same pair of shoes on, the same sock on, with the same blood on it from the day before and just came into the office and said, "did we have some tape so that we could tape around?". "So how about we take you up the street and find you a new pair of shoes." But then he, you know, you can see the family connections. He want to ring his mom every recess time and every lunch and so just come in and we'll let him do that. He'd always finish off with "love your mom". And, so, but I'd love to know what he's doing now. I don't know. I know he, you know, he finished up when he graduated from us, he was a very different young man than when he started. And I think the biggest thing was that when he left us, he had hope. When he started, he didn't.
So yeah, but I think that's probably the thank you. They didn't have hope for themselves and that they leave with it. That's would be a constant strings through the stories I think.
Lindsay: And such a powerful emotion to feel. I don't know if it's an emotion, if that's the right word. But you know, such a powerful thing to experience right? Hope. And when you're feeling hopeless, you're a very different person, right? And you experience the world very differently. So that's really positive, wow, Thank you.
Bronwyn: That's really tiny little things like I said to you that, you know, the cap and the body and then you have, you know, you have an open day and the kid who has not spoken to you, even though you've said hello to him every morning since he started, and then you hear him as he walks past and he's with a mate from out-of-school and he says, you know, I've said "hello" as usual. And he said "Bronwyn," It's the first time he said it to me and I kind of stumbled and I was like, "yes?".
And he said, "that's my principal's first name basis.". And you just laugh at those little things that, you know in their own time.
Lindsay: That's great. Yeah.
Bronwyn: They bring joy.
Lindsay: Excellent. I love it. Thank you so much for reminding us about that joy, right? Things can feel hard in the moment and and often do. But that importance of finding that joy and remembering and holding onto that joy is so important. Thank you. I think you've shared so much great stuff with us today. If you were to just tell folks who are kind of closing up the episode, really inspired to go about their days about their work. What is one starting point for people who are trying to inspire hope in students and trying to lead in the way that you've described throughout the episode? Where do you think that first step lies
Bronwyn: Gratitude. You know, what are you looking forward to most today? What are you you grateful for? What's the, you know, it might be the smallest, smallest thing, but that gratitude.
So what are you grateful for? I sit here and I'm grateful. That is the sun is just looking, so it's probably cold outside, but the sun is just so beautiful streaming in it And you know, the bark you heard before I'm grateful. I've got my dog, she's 15.5 years old. I'm grateful that I have my job. I'm grateful for the people I get to work with. I'm looking forward to, even though it's my vacation, I'm looking forward to doing some work planning for the students that I'm working with at the moment. I've, but you know, I'm, you know, what do you need? I think that is what needs to happen. It's got me back teaching in the classroom two days a week at the moment with kids who live in and out of home care and loving it.
But yeah, great gratitude. I think it's a great place to start.
Lindsay: That's amazing. Thank you. And I think this question that I usually ask as kind of one of the closing questions is really just for fun, we always kind of see educators and leaders as like kind of these self described lifelong learners. They're constantly learning and growing and evolving to your word that you mentioned. And so I'm just curious to know what's something that you have been learning about lately.
Bronwyn: The Wellbeing Lab. Spent time, we're working in The Wellbeing Lab, Michelle McQuaid and Positive Education, the PERMA Model, so Martin Seligman, those kinds of things and I think it's, I think the biggest learning for me and it was that it's the way I lived, it's the way I've always lived. It's the thing, I thought I'd, I knew a lot about and in making myself vulnerable to maybe you don't know everything about that,
I've learned a lot more.
So, you know, sometimes it's, Oh yeah, you used to do that because why did you stop? I don't know. Start doing that again. And so I don't think it always has to be new learning. It can be going back and consolidating what you've learned previously. But yeah, I think I look at, people are trying to come up with the new big best thing and I don't think the answers in the future. I actually think the answer is in reflecting backwards and doing what we've known, doing what we do know. Socrates ran Socratic circles like, but it's not new learning. That's a good way to learn. You know Ken Robinson wandered around the world for a couple of decades saying, "this is what we should do.", with huge crowds going, "yeah, this is what we should do.", but and put it into action.
You know, the people, teachers sit in staff meetings going, I hate it when they were not asked what we want to learn, you know, what we're doing and why we're doing this sheet at this professional learning day. And, but then they completely forget about that when they walk to their class and go "turn to page 65.". And so it's like people say it's not new learning, it's just it's not even new thinking, it's just new acting. That's why I think it's the change has to come from going within. And if when you go within, you find that your motivator is making yourself bigger better whatever, and please get out of public education and go and do something in private industry because, public education is the place of people who serve.
Lindsay: That's so powerful.
Those reflective kind of moments of pause are things that I think often we skip over because we don't have time or you know, whatever. And they're so important and they're the critical moments where we're going to make a decision about what we're teaching tomorrow, or pausing to think what is most important? It is actually acknowledging that student who hasn't been acknowledged by anyone yet, not getting through page 65 today in the lesson book. So I really appreciate you naming that.
Bronwyn: Pleasure Lindsay. I think that what am I going to teach tomorrow should be replaced with, Why am I going to teach that tomorrow?
Lindsay: Yeah, that's a great question.
Bronwyn: That's the Big one. May be more like a three year old. Why? Why?
Lindsay: I love it. And finally, where can listeners learn more about you or connect with you online or learn more about your school?
Bronwyn: the school is online at croydon c s, I think it is dot vic and dot e d u dot au, If I've got that wrong, it's croydon dot cs.
Lindsay: I can find it and link to it in the show notes.
Bronwyn: I'm on LinkedIn, but I'm actually quite a private person. So the city at the beginning, this is the first podcast I've done. So I'm not a big one about pushing myself forward. I'm not in a lot of places and I think I just have always done what is right in my little patch, what I believe is right in my little patch. And probably only now in my early 60s, starting to speak up and take those opportunities to believe that maybe stuff I have to say and stuff I know is interesting or of importance or value to others because I just have, I think trotted through most of my professional career thinking, why doesn't everybody just know this, but not being a big one on self promotion.
Lindsay: Well, I'm so glad that you agreed to come on to the podcast and that you agreed to share all your wisdom because I think it's incredibly valuable and I know our listeners will feel the same. So Bronwyn, thank you so much for coming on today.
Bronwyn: Pleasure Lindsay. Thanks for the invite. Thanks Mitch for the connect.
Thanks for listening amazing educators. If you loved this episode, you can share it on social media and tag me @lindsaybethlyons or leave a review of the show, so leaders like you will be more likely to find it. To continue the conversation, you can head over to our Time for Teachership Facebook group and join our community of educational visionaries. Until next time leaders, continue to think big, act brave, and be your best self.
Lindsay is a educator and leadership coach who helps teachers develop engaging project-based curricula, fosters student and teacher voice, and works to advance racial and gender equity and culturally responsive practice.