Boy: I saw the red flashing lights and yelled, “Run, run, the 5-0 are coming. Hurry!”
Me: Wait, what’s the 5-0?
Boy: It’s a code for the police.
Me: Ok, then what happened?
Boy: Well, we all ran but they got me. They patted me down and threw me into the back of the van.
Me: Just curious, what were you doing in the park at 3 am?
Boy: Got nothing better to do.
Upon reflection, it was at that moment that my career path veered from social policy towards educational policy. I started as a high school math teacher at ACORN Community High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Students travelled over an hour by public transportation to arrive each morning at this relatively new charter high school focused on social justice. I was jazzed by the opportunity to teach these kids, not only algebra and geometry, but also about the necessary data one must gather to help cite evidence for societal change. It was a steep learning curve in my first year teaching, and while the curve started to flatten over the next several years, I continued to focus on teaching underserved and under resourced students at Los Altos High School. I became an AVID teacher, and developed a curriculum where students learned to research and share evidence to support the use of data in the 2000 State of the Union Address by Bill Clinton.
With an eye towards helping educational leaders make decisions with data, I decided to attend UC Berkeley and obtain a Doctorate in Quantitative Measurement and Evaluation. I became acutely aware of the achievement gap that exists in college enrollment and the high remediation rates in mathematics for African American and Hispanic college students who eventually drop out. I continued to share my research measuring college and career readiness and helped raise awareness of the achievement gap at the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) as their Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment.
I will now return to this field and continue to focus my energies towards being an equity ambassador for the Sequoia Union High School District, as their incoming Director of Program Evaluation & Research and Principal for their alternative program at Middle College High School. It has been a true joy to work with the Yavneh staff and faculty, and I can honestly say that each day was a gift. I learned how to take risks, to make smart choices, to innovate, to listen attentively, to chant Torah trope, to be a better person, to live in community, to understand my intentions, and to support my friends and family. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. I promise to make my Yavneh community proud and to remain an integral part of the Yavneh family.
May we continue to go from strength to strength,
Diana (aka Dr. Wilmot)