Education was a career change for me in 2001. Little did I realize, the system was not similar to my experience as a student or to the experiences of my then elementary school aged children. It was the beginning of the State Assessments and change in education was evolving. The student population was slowing changing in the Long Island, NY suburban school district as immigrates from Central America moved into the area. What I found particularly disturbing was how bi-lingual children were labeled as low performers as they perfected their second language. I remember having a discussion with the principal offering my opinion that bi-lingual students were not necessarily low performers, they simply needed bi-lingual instruction. I also thought that it was the perfect opportunity to introduce Spanish to the monolithic students. The decision to pursue my career change took approximately two years. I was aware of the drastic reduction I would incur in my salary and the freedom and autonomy I had as a mid-level executive.
I entered educational initially as a parent volunteer, then I was accepted into the New York Teaching Fellows program, similar to the Teach for America program. My first school was located in East New York in the middle of a public housing development. I knew my student population would be challenging, however, I was disturbed at how unprepared I was for working with marginalized children. Then 9/11 happened, as we were placed on ‘lock-down’ I was unable to leave to get to my own children. This was a greater stressor than my new career. I was in a facility on lock-down, an elementary school and forbidden to leave to get my children. How I missed the autonomy of my corporate job at that moment. It was that moment that I acknowledged I was not prepared for the classroom. So, I went back to the volunteer position at my children’s public school. The principal was a great leader, educator, and administrator. I was exactly where I needed to be to navigate the public school system. I am now a Special Educator with teaching experience in New York City (Brooklyn and Queens), suburban Long Island, New York and Mid-South Louisiana.
It is my goal to share current and accurate information with parents, building administrators, school district administrators and stakeholders via this site and it is my vision to speak with policy-makers, parents, educators, auxiliary staff personnel, administrators, and stakeholders as the changes slowly progress towards a continuum of change. My focus will be on students with exceptionalities and how these students and the general education student population are experiencing an increase of suspensions and expulsions.
I have fifteen years of Risk Management experience with a major corporation. As a Special Educator, my Risk Management background enables me with the confidence, skills, and knowledge that I am effective in working with children with exceptionalities. More importantly I am ensuring ESS students are receiving services according to their rights to a Free Appropriate Public Education and that their rights are protected under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.) and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, my expertise is critical for district and building administrators, policy makers, and school board members to be cognizant of the exposable risks that may have serious fiscal impacts on school districts if all levels of educators and staff members are not aware of their responsibilities for children with exceptionalities.
I have presented at the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) Conference, and Oxford University in Oxford, England. I also have experience as an Adjunct Professor at Dowling College, Long Island, NY, State University of New York -Empire, and Molloy College, West Hempstead, NY. I was a reader of submissions to the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and I am also a published author.