I knew I wanted to be a teacher since kindergarten, when a favorite game was teaching teddy bears to read and designing math problems for them to complete.
Since then my role as an educator has taken many forms, including professional development for student teachers and K-12 classroom teachers, teaching 6th grade Social Studies and English Language Arts as well as First Grade Waiver to Basic in Spanish and English. I have also taught art and culture classes including filmmaking, stop motion animation, blogging, and photography. I hold a Master’s in Education from UCLA as well as a multiple subjects teaching credential and BCLAD Spanish certification. My master’s thesis focused on the experiences of gender variant youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District. This original research informs workshops and trainings I offer to help schools become safe and welcoming places for transgender and gender variant students, with a particular focus on the intersections between gender identity and other identities such as race, class, and sexuality. I have given workshops to students at graduate schools of education, public school K-12 teachers, high school classes, Gay Straight Alliances, and college classes and conferences throughout the United States.
My gender equality activism has also received national media coverage including on Democracy Now! and in The Progressive. In 2013 KCET LinkTV honored me as a “Local LGBT Hero” for my leadership in founding the Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival. The annual event serves to create a safe and empowering venue to showcase films that would otherwise go unnoticed, develop leadership skills within the transgender community, and to use media to educate others about the community’s diversity. As a filmmaker, my four short films, “Queering Gender” (2005), “Queerer Than Thou” (2008), “The Next Gender Nation” (2010) and “So Pomo” (2012), have screened hundreds of times worldwide at academic conferences, film festivals and on college campuses. My films have also been incorporated in college curriculum.
I currently work at Streetside Stories as a Media Arts Integration Specialist, serving Title I schools in the Hayward School District. As lead educator designing and implementing a 21st Century Schools grant from the Department of Education, I write project-based curriculum for K-8 students using iPad labs, integrating Common Core standards and 21st Century Skills with CA ELA, SS, Science, Math and Visual Arts standards. I also provide on-going pedagogical and technological support for teachers as they develop their own curricula utilizing the iPad labs. Using qualitative and quantitative data provided by our educational research partner, I refine the curricula to better meet the needs of all students.