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Q: What made you want to be the superintendent of St. Louis Park Public Schools?

A: What really caught my eye for over a decade, was I had an opportunity to work closely with many of the administrators that attended the Institute for Courageous Leadership. It was learning with them that got me interested. We were talking about race and its impact on schools and how you change systems in order to ensure that all students have an opportunity to be successful. I got very intrigued to watch closely what was going on in St. Louis Park. It was through the Institute that really gave me the first exposure to what was happening. What really was the hook for me was that I attended a conference and the Youth Data Analysts presented some work. I was blown away, so when the opportunity came open for submitting an application for St. Louis Park, I was like, “Oh, this is a no brainer.” The values that St. Louis Park has established when it comes to the mission drew me in -- when you talk about seeing, empowering and inspiring each student to discover their brilliance. When districts say “all” it means that they get to group some students and apply this overarching approach, but it may not meet their needs. It may not fit who they are as an individual. But when you say “each”, that means that I need to take some time to get to know you: what you like to do, what makes you happy, what rubs you the wrong way, what motivates you. Then, I can really connect and help you see all of the stripes that you have within you. So, it's that connection to the mission that really drew me in and I’m just excited to have this opportunity to join St. Louis Park. It's gonna be awesome.

Q: What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

A: I would tell my younger self that everything that I experience in life is not always bad. If I take the time to learn the lesson while I'm in the situation, it would accelerate my growth and make me better prepared for the next opportunity. 

Q: What is something that you're proud of?

A: I'm proud of a lot of stuff. I am proud of my family. I am married to a retired police officer. I have two sons. One graduated two and a half years ago from Michigan State and is currently serving as a Special Ed paraprofessional in Minneapolis Public Schools, and my youngest is graduating from the University of Minnesota this spring with his Bachelor's in Sociology. He has also started the Minneapolis EMS pathway program. I'm really proud of just how we raised them and how they have really developed as young men. I'm proud to be a member of my sorority: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. My sorority is a public service organization. We do public service within the black community. It's bigger than just Minneapolis, we are an international organization, so we have chapters throughout the United States and in international countries.

Q: What is something you are excited for in your new role?

A: I'm excited about building upon what you all are currently doing. I looked at the achievement data, and when you talk about changing systems, the technical pieces have been put in place. Now, we need to just apply it, so that we can actualize the research that says when students have an opportunity to see themselves in the curriculum and when adults see their brilliance, they are motivated to try a little harder and achieve a little more. I want to be able to bring some of the experiences that I've had over my years into St. Louis Park, so that we can actualize the research and show another point that further proves that students can achieve at high levels when you have all of these variables in place.

Q: What's your favorite book?

A: I've got a lot of books on my shelf. I just finished this one book called Hidden Potential, and I believe Adam Grant wrote the book. It talks about how you create spaces where you are tapping into the potential of others and yourself that is generally hidden. If we have an opportunity to tap into that greatness that we all have in us, is it game changing?

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as superintendent?

A: I've always had this dream of being able to lead a district that is the gold star of education -- to be nationally recognized for our student achievement. For our students leaving St. Louis Park who are going to do big things, they are taking the legacy into all sectors of our society. The work that we do as we nurture and develop world students really shifts our society, and we can be that microcosm of what we want the world to be. St. Louis Park has the beauty of being a district that covers the same area as the city, so when you combine your forces and align with the values of the city, we are working in tandem to ensure that we are developing the next generation. We can be that gold star example that people will come in to say, “What are you all doing? We want to be able to replicate your systems.”

Q: How do you spend your free time?

A: In the little free time I have, I like to go shopping. I like to travel. I love going to Caribbean islands. I love just having downtime with my husband and our family, friends, and my sorority sisters. When spring rolls around, I really like going to the nurseries and buying all of these flowers and planting them in the yard. 

Q: Do you have anything to add?

A: I'm super excited to start and to get in there and have conversations with students, staff, and families. I look forward to hearing what their hopes and dreams are and how I could help everyone achieve what their true desires would be. I'm ready to go.