WHERE I'M FROM
I started my career like many young teachers do. I enjoyed the classroom, but my original dream was to be a stay-at-home mom. I loved teaching, but was willing to put my career on hold to welcome my first child into the world. After only a short time, I gained a new level of respect for stay-at-home-moms everywhere. Suddenly, going back to teaching was calling my name despite the mom guilt of leaving the home for my career.
I went back to teaching shortly after my first child was born and realized that everything was much more complicated, but I was determined to complete my master’s degree during these early teaching years. I needed to keep showing up, and prove to myself and the world that I could handle the demands of full-time work and full-time mothering.
Once I was “all in” with teaching, the jump to administration shortly followed. Why not go even further doing what I loved most: leading and inspiring others to be change makers on behalf of students.
My superintendent saw my strengths and offered me my first administrative position as an assistant principal.
As I continued to have kids and climb the administrative ladder as a principal, I was driven to not lose myself in the midst of the chaos of life. It became very clear that leadership was my calling and passion.
So I decided to push forward and get my doctorate degree while serving as assistant superintendent - and in 2014, I did just that.
I knew deep down that true fulfillment was serving others through education.
WHERE I'M AT
“When one door closes, another door opens.” You’ve probably heard this old saying throughout your career. You may even believe it. But when it was my turn for the door to be slammed hard in my face, nothing could really prepare me for the pain that followed.
No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, I had to face the very real challenge of being passed up for a position that I not only wanted - but thought was mine. I was passed up when everyone was convinced the position was mine. I was passed up with a community standing behind me. Worst of all, I was passed up after spending 15 years giving my heart and soul serving in the place that I thought would be my forever home. When I was passed up, it truly felt like a personal betrayal. I was so shattered that I had to learn how to grieve spiraling into a deep depression.
“What is wrong with me? Why am I not good enough? What do I do now?” These were the questions I asked myself over and over.
After doing lots of hard work, I had to regroup. I had to rebound.
Rejection led to a crossroad of choices to be made.
Do I stay in a position that I am comfortable in even though the organization has denied my advancement?
Or do I take this as an opportunity to revise my career plan?
Through the pain, I saw a new horizon available.
The new horizon was clearly a better one. Facing rejection was the only way for me to get to the humbling point of seeking necessary career change.
As challenging as it was, I accepted my darkest and coldest of days. Through the fog, I realized that adjusting the sails is the only way to experience the beautiful journey of my life.
Now, I am a superintendent in California and for over two decades, I have been a change-maker in public education, leading staff to inspire students to reach their full potential in preparation for life beyond the classroom. I am a professor for both educational leadership and teacher education. I am passionate about school and district leadership.
I published my first book, Adjusting the Sails: Weathering the Storms of Administrative Leadership in 2022, followed by Against the Wind: Weathering the Storms of Administrative Leadership in 2023.
Like a sailboat
on the sea,
I adjusted my sails and took off in a new direction.
WHERE I'M HEADED
I aspire to continue having an impact through my raw, authentic writing and keynotes. After publishing my first two books and speaking nationally, I have only scratched the surface in terms of the insights and perspectives I can share. I will publish more books that ignite change in the leaders who read them.
I believe a good leader can inspire by telling their stories.
A great leader evokes change today, not someday. When I speak, people will not just be motivated or entertained - they will walk away with specific, feasible takeaways to implement change immediately in their schools and districts.
What sets me apart from other keynote speakers? Inspiration is just the beginning. More importantly, I ignite change. I shine an uncomfortable spotlight on issues that must be addressed so we can adjust your sails and elevate your bold and courageous leadership right now. Others suggest big ideas for change that may happen eventually. I provide small, but profoundly impactful changes you can make today.
Change starts with discomfort and identifying hard truths.
My focus is on being a catalyst for change in leaders. With authenticity and high expectations, I aim to inspire the leadership potential within managers and executives – their potential to drive real improvements, tackle persistent inequities, and truly empower those relying on them. That is how I will motivate stagnant organizations to shift toward excellence. Leaders will leave my keynotes freshly inspired to spearhead breakthroughs. Not by lofty visions for the future, but renewed courage to lead with conviction right where they are, turning ideas into action today.
A GREAT leader ignites action and creates a tangible impact.
My goal is not to hand you easy answers, but to launch real transformations through thoughtful reflection and a conviction to lead differently.