I acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, specifically the Duwamish, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, and Muckleshoot People. I acknowledge this both out of sincere respect for our living earth and its traditional stewards and also because I understand the practice of land acknowledgement to be an important step toward a more just society. I also make this acknowledgement because I understand it to be a traditional sign of respect for many Native communities, going back centuries. I believe truly doing a land acknowledgement with integrity demands more than only words. It involves learning history, building relationships, and deep sincerity. I continue to make efforts in those areas.
I acknowledge the contemporary and historical unpaid and unseen labor on which the economic, historical, political, and social foundations of my life are unfortunately based. I acknowledge and grieve the immense history of violence that has made this possible. I acknowledge the responsibility to change things that this reality creates for me and our world. And I acknowledge and honor the beautiful souls, immeasurable resilience, and horrific loss of those who bear the immense weight of the machine.
I also acknowledge the great mentors and teachers I’ve had in my life who have made and continue to make my work possible. This includes my parents and grandparents, cousins and siblings, aunts and uncles, and every teacher and mentor throughout my education. It also includes the faculty and my colleagues at the Processwork Institute of Portland, Oregon; my many friends and colleagues throughout Washington State public schools and the Washington Education Association; and the dedicated educators and organizers who worked to produce the Coalition of Essential Schools, the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, the Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing, The Circle Works, the Equity Institute, the Equity in Education Coalition, the Education for Liberation Network, and Teachers 4 Social Justice.
I’m a fourth-generation white American. My ancestors immigrated to the United States in a wave of European immigration in the late nineteenth century. As best my family can tell, they came from France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Mongolia, and Russia.
I was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and I have lived and worked in various other parts of the United States, including Western Washington, East Tennessee, New York City, and Washinton DC.
Growing up, my mom had a keen eye for injustice. My brother and I learned early on about the violence of oppression. By the time I entered college and determined that I wanted to be a teacher, I’d become extremely passionate about changing the education system to be more equitable for all people.
In 2006, I began working as a high school teacher of language arts and social studies in East Tennessee. Over the next fourteen years, I worked in public high schools across the United States, earning my National Board teaching certificate in 2014. For most of that time, I participated heavily in grassroots activism and served as a union organizer of schools and communities around social justice issues.
I’ve been teaching and facilitating conversations with youth and adults about systems of oppression and their history for over seventeen years in schools, in community, and at conferences - including the Network for Public Education Conference, the Step Up Conference of Snohomish County, the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference; the Teachers 4 Social Justice Conference; the Decolonizing Education Conference, and the Coalition of Essential Schools Fall Forum. I also collaborate with Martha Hurwitz to design anti-oppression trainings for white folks that we deliver virtually and at some of these conferences.
In 2019, I decided to take a break from high school teaching because I knew I was going through a mid-life unraveling that needed more space to unfold. That summer, I was attending an Undoing Racism workshop by The People’s Institute when I had a conversation that changed my life. I was taking a coffee break and talking to a fellow participant about the power of the People’s Institute training when I asked her who she thought was doing next-level anti-oppression work. That’s when she told me about the Processwork Institute. Two years later, I began their master’s training program.
Most recently, I’ve been working as a counselor intern at River’s Way Community Clinic of Portland, OR, and I will graduate with a master’s degree in Process-Oriented Facilitation and Conflict Studies (otherwise known as Process-Oriented Psychology or simply Processwork) from the Processwork Institute of Portland, OR this coming June. Prior to Processwork, I earned a master’s in social studies education and a bachelor’s in history from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I also have a background in personal fitness training, bodywork, and nutrition.
In addition to Processwork, my facilitation style is strongly influenced by the principles of Structural Integration, Nonviolent Communication, Circle Work, and various schools of critical theory.
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