Steve: My favorite aspect of my job is watching people grow because I have unique job of seeing my students throughout their K-12 experience. That boils down to relationships- relationships throughout my community.
Jenna: I absolutely love my job and I can’t just pick one thing. I love our community. It’s really something special to have 1000 people under roof all united around the same thing. I love witnessing children growing up and discovering their passions. I love our families and their dedication to their kids. I really love turning someone outside of education onto Lighthouse. Some people don’t believe what we do is possible. And then I tour them around the school and they see with their own eyes how our city can be for all kids.
Steve: Everyone has a story about the high achiever, so I won’t bother you with that. A story I will tell is about a student who was Learning disabled. His teachers tried to serve them the best they could but you can tell that he was really frustrated. But when he got to 10th grade he found his passion, his passion was art. Art inspired to him and was the one thing that he really loved. Now he has his diploma and a job.
Jenna: This one is sad, but speaks to the power of relationships. My first year of teaching in Watts, I was able to connect and gain the trust of a tough 7th grade girl, S, who had been neglected by her teachers in years past. She barely trusted anyone and was angry at everyone. Slowly over time, she realized her leadership potential in my science class and we grew very close. One day I received a call from her sister that their mother had been killed in a drug deal and big sister wanted me to be the one to tell S what had happened. With a broken heart, I did what I was asked and supported my dear S through months of grieving and challenge.
Steve: I have a most fulfilling and a purpose driven life- what more could I want?
Jenna: Love. To bring more love into the world in any way that I can. I believe loving one another and loving those who feel most unloved is doing the work of God.
Steve: You can get anything here but it still feels like a small town.
Jenna: I’m with Steve.
Steve: I’ll enumerate them.
Jenna: Free time?
Steve: Find your passion and vigorously pursue it; while at the same time becoming an expert at something.
Jenna: No one can stop you from achieving your deepest dreams. Do or do not. There is no try. (Thank you, Yoda.)
Steve: Well, I can’t reimagine education in Oakland because these times of change are happening really rapidly. So, I am giving up trying to predict the future. What I would like to reimagine is the quality school for every kid.
Jenna: Every child, starting from when they are born, are provided a loving place to go to school. Schools would cater to the truly diverse learning needs of all of our students. Teachers would be our city’s most lauded heroes. The achievement gap would disappear and education would be transforming lives every day.