I am currently in my 8th year teaching history at Animo Western Middle School. I was a part of the founding staff in 2011, and have remained committed to the middle school students of South LA ever since. I have held many roles at my school site and across the organization over the years, including ILT, department chair, and PDL. Last year I decided I wanted to place my energy where I felt I could have a larger impact on the organization as a whole, and thus decided I wanted to join the Executive Board of AMU. As a middle school teacher, I’m excited to bring the distinct perspective of the middle school teaching experience to the E-Board. As a founding teacher on a transformation campus, I also feel uniquely qualified to address concerns that plague the teachers on some of our toughest campuses, as well as those of schools that are just beginning.
I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18 to attend the University of Southern California. I majored in political science and minored in art history, and as a result became much more interested in the history of the world than I had been in middle or high school. At USC I also had the opportunity to tutor student-athletes, many of whom came to USC from failing high schools; this began to open my eyes to the many shortfalls of the U.S. education system. It was through these experiences that I decided I wanted to dedicate my career to teaching history in underserved communities of America.
When I started teaching immediately after completing my graduate & credential program at USC, I had no idea how significant having a union would be. I was merely excited to have a teaching job, and in retrospect am so grateful that I ended up working for Green Dot, where I have the support of AMU. I started working more closely with the union about four years ago when I became a site rep at Animo Western. I have also served on the evaluation committee for three years, where I have had the opportunity to express concerns around making our evaluation system more sustainable and equitable for both administrators and teachers alike. This past year I also sat on the CRTF Revision Committee, and was able to further work on making our evaluation system more manageable and conducive to professional growth.
AMU is important to me because teaching is an immensely difficult job where unfortunately, the turnover rate is far too high to make the changes we want to see in the education system. It is my firm belief that teachers need to feel valued for their work, as well as have a healthy work-life balance. Without these factors, we are hurting our students, as educators burn out and leave, or are exhausted and uninspired at work. I am proud and excited to be a part of AMU’s E-Board, working toward making a career in education more sustainable for teachers and counselors. I look forward to working in solidarity with all members to fight for the wins we need to be fulfilled and effective at our jobs, so our students can benefit from experienced, passionate, and happy educators.