Since 1993, I have served the field of education as a teacher, instructional coach, principal at both the elementary and secondary levels, district curriculum leader, and consultant. Like many teachers, most of my lived experiences and those who influenced me were situated from a white, female, heterosexual, Christian, middle-class standpoint. It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood and established as an experienced educator that I began to observe inequities first hand. This awareness of the truth motivated me to comprehend the impact inequity has, not only on historically marginalized groups, but also the limited perspectives of people like me. Each and every one of my teachers and professors had skin like mine. Nearly everyone in my zip code had similar experiences and beliefs. My perspectives were limited. I lived with privilege and considered it normal. I gave very little thought to the impact this had, not only on my interactions with others who had different experiences, but also on my personal growth. I pride myself in being a lifelong learner. Thanks to some revelations, I am determined to understand and advocate for social and educational justice as part of my ongoing learning travels. Along this journey, I’ve uncovered implicit biases, recognized some of the struggles people different from me face as their “normal” experiences, and developed a voice to speak up and take action. I have leaned heavily on the work of thought leaders, researchers, and my fellow authors to bring perspective and tools to this book’s readers. Unpacking my innate assumptions and beliefs is not easy, nor was writing Amplifying Voice. Despite these challenges, the reflection and inquiry process has brought invaluable intrinsic rewards and spiritual growth to me. If I want to see change in the world, if I want each student to have equitable access to learning, I, and others with similar life experiences, have to do some uncomfortable work. One of the moral purposes of the Core Collaborative is to be a critical friend. The ideas I share in this book are intended to serve as a critical friend to readers. I didn’t have those influences early in my life, but I am grateful to be surrounded by them today.
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