I am of German and British descent and I am proud of my family and background. I also understand that as a white teacher I represent a challenge in DPS - 70% of our students are non-white while 70% of our educators are white.
How will I represent a community that mostly does not look like me? How will I represent a community that has experienced injustices that I have not? How will I help change the above statistics?
The best predictor of future events is past experience and decisions.
I am an immigrant from Germany and the sister to someone who was deported from the United States. I am the mother of a future DPS student and I speak another language in my household. I have experienced what it feels like to be silenced in public while talking to my child in a language other than English.
But, I am still white.
So I ask again, how will I be able to represent the entire Denver community when most of that community does not look like me?
I can stand here and tell you all day long that I will, but please look at the facts and my past experiences:
I work at North High School. Last year, I received 94% on the DPS student satisfaction survey - 11 points higher than the average teacher in DPS. This means that 94% of my students answered questions such as: ‘My teacher understands me, My teacher listens to me, I like the way my teacher treats me, My teacher believes in me, and My teacher cares about me’ positively.
For the past 4 years, I have spent many hours creating a new Archery program at North - a program best known for supporting at risk and ‘falling between the cracks’ youth. This involved writing an application to the State to receive the equipment, calling/emailing the director multiple times, and being ignored for 3 years. Once I found out that a school received the equipment the same year I first applied, and therefore was 3 years ahead of my students, I demanded the State Department support my students the same way it supported a wealthy mountain school.
I have spent the past two years involved in city politics in order to bring more housing choices to a neighborhood that desperately needed it. This involved taking on systemic racism found within our own city zoning laws.
When my students and I read a new book and found an incredibly racist description of a character, my students discussed their reactions to the description and how they felt it was inappropriate. I encouraged students to write to the author to provide her an explanation of why the language was inappropriate and how the character could be described more appropriately. The author wrote back, apologized and promised to change the language used in the book.
That book had been in DPS for over 12 years.
But because I have not experienced some of the injustices that my community members have faced, I will spend more time and work harder to ensure that I am hearing, and understanding, every voice. I will spend more time listening, and understanding, how certain policies have affected people personally and how it has affected their communities.
Please look over my platforms - with the help of the community, I intend to help support every single student and ensure we are keeping experienced teachers from within the community.
I am willing to put in the work. I hope you will trust me to do that.