I love my job as a physical therapist—working with my students to help them reach their goals as they grow to be as independent as they are able to be.
Along with helping students with their physical challenges, I try to positively impact their educational experience and their perspective about school. I work hard to encourage students to keep pushing themselves so they can access everything the school and society has to offer, believing there is no “normal” way to be. I believe the differences that make everyone unique gives everyone different strengths.
I was very familiar with my local affiliate, Fairbanks Education Association (FEA), because I had spent a lot of time in that office with my mom when I was growing up. She is a teacher and has always been involved in the union. I have worked alongside her in many capacities from the Alaska Native and American Indian Caucus and Delegate Assembly and generally learning from her working in the human rights community.
Involvement in the association is important to me. I enjoy the work and comradery found in both my local and state associations. I have had the opportunity to serve in multiple capacities including the NEA-Alaska board of directors, FEA board of directors, sick leave bank, teacher rights, and bargaining support committee.
I am passionate about improving education in my region and state, especially bringing attention to the needs of Indigenous people and importance of including cultural knowledge and traditions in education and having representation among educators and members. I’ve also focused on that issue through NEA-Alaska and the National Indian Education Association, where I’ve been able to connect with Native people nationwide who often are facing issues like ours: providing for equity in our schools and consideration of the curriculum so that it includes and celebrates all cultures.
Like the progress I believe I make with my students, advances in politics take dedication and persistence. I have the determination needed to pursue changes. I am grateful for all the opportunities that are available to develop my leadership skills in NEA. I believe I can have an impact on these things that are important to me – my students, their schools, and my hard working colleagues in education.