E3 Newsletter -- Autumn 2020

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Educate. Empower. Excel.

School of Education Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 1

Update from the Dean

Dean Rachel EndoDear Friends of the School of Education,

As we continue to negotiate various realities during the dual pandemics (COVID-19 and the persistence of structural racism predicated on over 400 years of anti-Blackness), the School of Education at UW Tacoma sends everyone both gratitude and light.

This 2020-2021 academic year has started with new beginnings and transitions. Carla Van Rossum, who provided excellent service to UW Tacoma as our longtime Pre-Admissions Advisor/Recruiter, resigned in May 2020. I am pleased to share that Elizabeth Rangel joined our team in September 2020 as our new Academic Advisor/Recruitment & Retention Specialist. Dr. Rob MacGregor, who has served exceptionally well as our Director of the Educational Administration Program, will retire in June 2021. We are currently running a national search for his replacement.

In this version of our newsletter, we will spotlight key accomplishments and milestones of faculty and students. I am also grateful that EdD Student Amy Maharaj has helped the School of Education launch an Inaugural Colloquium Series and will be our first speaker on December 15, 2020. 

Finally, I am pleased to share that the School of Education is launching our first-ever individual-giving campaign that is prioritizing supporting our students in greatest need.

I look forward to staying in touch.

Respectfully Yours,

Rachel Endo

Special thanks to Catarina Terrill, Brian Anderson, Donna Braboy, and Joy Okot-Okidi for organizing the content for this newsletter. 

Your support makes a difference

With a distinct mission to promote equity and social justice in our schools and society, the School of Education’s alumni, faculty, staff, and students have long been committed to continuing our work to advance access and opportunities for all. During 2020, we have been at the forefront of creating innovative solutions for closing equity gaps ranging from the digital divide to providing resources to our community on navigating difficult conversations on anti-racism and dismantling anti-Blackness.

To help support our work, we are launching our first giving campaign in December. Watch your email for important ways that you can help our students and faculty continue their work!

Meet EdD Student Amy Maharaj  

Amy Maharaj

I have worked for the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe since 2017 and am currently the Academic Affairs Instructor at Muckleshoot Tribal College. My duties include teaching college classes, program development, and writing grants. Before I worked at the Tribal College, I was a certificated K-8 teacher who taught elementary school students, including those in special education. Being an immigrant, I like to mentor immigrant youth through a nonprofit organization. In my spare time, I enjoy creating mindful art with watercolor paints and digital art.

I completed my master’s degree in Educational Psychology, and am currently a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership (EdD) program at UW Tacoma. My educational commitments include educational equity and supporting BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, Women of Color) in education.

Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Still I Rise” has always been powerful to me. I can feel Ms. Angelou’s resilience and strength with every word.

And still, I rise - Maya Angelou Artwork credit: Amy Maharaj 

Note: Maharaj also helped launch the School of Education’s Inaugural Colloquium Series this autumn 2020 that we are piloting this 2020-2021 academic yearShe will give a virtual talk on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 from Noon-1:00 p.m. as part of our Inaugural Colloquium Series titled Advancing Dialogues: Education, Empowerment, & Equity. She will speak about her experiences navigating educational institutions as a first-generation immigrant college student and her goals for the future. 

Click here to register for the event, which is free and open to the community. 

Below is what she wrote about this series: 

The idea behind having this series is to allow students and others associated with the UW Tacoma's School of Education a chance to share their stories, expertise, and topics of discussion. As educators (and future educators), we understand how powerful someone's voice can be. Being able to share your voice with others who may be tackling related issues or from a similar background really brings forth a sense of connection and community. This is especially important during COVID-19 as many of us expected to meet and connect with others in a more traditional manner. But where there is adversity, we seek ways to make it positive. One of the positives is that we can share our voices on a virtual platform in order to connect and be heard. I hope the series brings forth a chance of leadership and empowerment for all students at UW Tacoma's School of Education.


School Psychology Program Updates

The School of Education at UW Tacoma is finalizing the development of a new Specialist degree (EdS) program in School Psychology under the guidance of faculty Dr. Laura Feuerborn (lead), Dr. Kawena Begay (accreditation specialist), and Dr. Kathy Beaudoin.

The program proposal was fully approved by the UW graduate school and also received favorable external reviews. We are preparing to submit a full program proposal (the final stage of a three-part approval process at the state level) to the Professional Educators Standards Board (PESB). If approved by PESB, we will aim to enroll our first cohort of School Psychology candidates in autumn 2021. We will also seek conditional accreditation through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

We are also thrilled to announce our inaugural School Psychology Professional Education Advisory Board (PEAB). The School Psychology PEAB participates in the development, implementation, and revision of the program. To learn more about the role of the PEAB, visit: https://www.pesb.wa.gov/preparation-programs/standards/program-standards/peab/

Dr. Joshua Garcia currently serves the students, staff, and community as Deputy Superintendent of the Tacoma Public Schools. In this role, Dr. Garcia’s teams lead a number of groundbreaking reform initiatives. In Tacoma, teams have designed a new innovation policy and practice, a nationally recognized district-wide whole child benchmarking system, removed testing fees for AP, IB, PSAT, and SAT, and passed over one-billion dollars with capital bonds with a 70%+ approval rating. Additionally, his team has increased graduation rates by over 25% in 5 years, expanded free preschool to over 1,800 students, and have been recognized as a district-wide zone of innovation by the State of Washington. Dr. Garcia’s teams have also redefined school budgeting, school choice, and innovation policies, and have developed a nationally recognized Whole Child Education and Multiple Measure Accountability Systems. His previous experiences include Adjunct Professor, Assistant Superintendent, Executive Director, High School Principal, Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, and Teacher. 

Dr. Garcia received his doctorate degree from Seattle University and his undergraduate degree from Washington State University. He was named a 2015 “Leader to Learn'' by EdWeek, a Data Quality Campaign Flashlight recipient ,the 2013 ASCD International Outstanding Young Educator Award winner, and 2006 Emerging Leader, as well as the 2010 Washington State STEM Entrepreneur Award. He has spoken to audiences around the nation and internationally on assessment, student success, and results of the Whole Child Initiative. Quote:

I believe every student should and can graduate from our schools well prepared for higher education and life. Unfortunately, many of the brick walls our children face are human made. Schools and community leaders must relentlessly work to dissolve these barriers and build cohesive systems that promote excellence for all. Then and only then, will we fulfill our pledge to provide every child the opportunity to pursue a successful life.

Michael Kirlin serves as Ethics and Professional Practices chairperson for the Washington State Association of School Psychologists (WSASP). He serves on the APCAC committee at OSPI as part of his role as Ethics chairperson. He also serves as WSASP Area 9 (Pierce County) co-chairperson. Kirlin has worked as a school psychologist for 31 years, the last 21 of which were in the Bethel School District. This 2020-2021 year, he will be working for the Tacoma Public School District. Kirlin has effectively worked with ethnically and racially diverse populations, including Latinx students and families in Othello, Sauk-Suiattle students and families in Darrington, and with Tulalip students and families in Marysville. In Bethel, Kirlin worked with students and families who were income marginalized and Latinx, Pacific Islander, Black/African American students. He has also worked intensely with military families.

Dr. Miranda Kucera is a practicing school psychologist in the Puyallup District, where she is also a co-coordinator of the district school psychologists. She has been practicing for eight years, first in California before relocating to Washington in 2017. Prior to completing her PhD in Educational Psychology, Dr. Kucera obtained her MA in Clinical Psychology and worked in community mental health for two years in Colorado. Dr. Kucera works with multiple populations in the community including English Language Learners, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, students who identify as LGBTQIA+, and students/families from various economic backgrounds. 

Dr. Dajana Kurbegovic is known as “Dr. Dajana” (pronounced “Diana”) to her students and staff. She has been working as a practicing school psychologist since 2013, spending most of her time serving students in Tacoma Public Schools and working with culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse populations. Dr. Kurbegovic continued her education, obtaining her PhD in 2016 from the University of Washington Seattle (she absolutely has UW pride!). When she is not working in schools, she is adjunct teaching at UW Tacoma, educating future teachers and leaders. On a personal note, Dr. Kurbegovic was born in Bosnia. She and her family immigrated to the United States in 1995 during a time of war and conflict. Her culture is an important part of who she is and helps her better understand and work with multiple populations and ELL students in the community, as she is bilingual herself. Most recently, Dr. Kurbegovic purchased a home in Fircrest, WA in summer 2019, and she is here to stay!

Dr. Keith Mars has served as President of WSASP, as a delegate to NASP, and brings decades of experience working in Corrections, State Hospitals, Community Mental Health, and Schools, and he served on the CWU PEAB for several years. He has worked in both staff and administrative positions and developed new programs in Mental Health. He has worked with varying communities in the East Coast, Middle States, and West Coast.

Amanda Smiley is a K-5 Educator who has currently served in the Renton School District for 4+ years. She holds a Bachelors of English from Washington State University and a Master of Education from George Washington University. She has worked with a PSED cohort aimed to identify retention strategies for teachers of color. In the classroom, she promotes safety and belonging as the core of her student's success. She believes when each student walks through her door they know they are capable of great things and they are loved

Lauren Taylor Lauren Taylor is Principal of Manitou Park Elementary with the Tacoma Public Schools. She has been with the Tacoma Public Schools for over 8 years including as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. She holds a Master of Education (MEd) focused in Educational Leadership and Administration from Central Washington University and a BA in Elementary Education & Teaching from Whitworth University.

Dr. Emily Williams Emily Williams earned her education specialist degree from New Mexico State University in December of 2008. The following year in June 2009, she earned her PhD in special education. She has 10 years of experience as a university professor. As a tenured professor, she focused on assessment, classroom management, and teacher education. She has returned to public school service as a school psychologist for the past 2 years. When she is not in the schools, she spends time with her daughters and grandson in the Tacoma area.


Elizabeth RangelWelcome Elizabeth Rangel

The School of Education is pleased to welcome Elizabeth “Liz” Rangel as our new Academic Advisor/Recruitment & Retention specialist. She replaces longtime Pre-Admissions Advisor/Recruiter Carla Van Rossum who resigned in May 2020.

Prior to UW Tacoma, Rangel was at Bellevue College and Green River College in the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. She was also an admissions advisor and recruiter for Highline College. Before working in the community college system, she held various positions working with the K-12 system in both the Federal Way Public School District and the Franklin Pierce School District. She has had the privilege to work with the GEAR UP grant, 21st Century Grant, and the South Pierce County Boys and Girls Club. Rangel is currently pursuing her Master’s in Higher Education at Central Washington University and also earned her BA in the Arts there as well.

Dr. M. Billye Sankofa WatersGet to Know Dr. M. Billye Sankofa Waters 

Dr. M. Billye Sankofa Waters (double last name with no hyphen) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership in the School of Education at UW Tacoma. She started at UW Tacoma in the 2019-2020 academic year, where she has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what drew you to UW Tacoma.

I identify as a Hip Hop generation Blackgirl from the South Side of Chicago, who writes. I ground my work in Black feminism, critical race theory, abolitionist teaching, Black writers, and qualitative inquiry. I am the Founding Executive Director of the nonprofit charity, Blackgirl Gold Unapologetic, Inc., which builds various scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate Blackgirls. 

There were quite a few factors that drew me out of my Midwestern home all the way over to the Pacific Northwest! However, one of the earliest and most poignant was the School of Education Equity Action Plan. It aligned with my beliefs and practices and I was able to see that much of the praxis of the folx in the school aligned as well.

  1. Tell us about an upcoming project you have in the works.

In 2020, I created Radical Identity Praxis [RIP] – four movements toward the assertion that folx who actively re/claim their "intersectional" identities, engender everyday practices of liberation. RIP uses critical race theory, Black feminism, Hip Hop, and critical ethnography to build personal, family, and community archives with and for Black folx. 

  1. Do you have a favorite quote or summer 2020 reading that you would like to share, and why it inspired you?

I am currently listening to: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, Eloquent Rage by Britney Cooper, and Thick by Tressie McMillian Cottom. Even though I have been an avid reader since a child and love love love the feel and smell of physical books, since COVID-19, I have started to listen to audiobooks on walks through my neighborhood. Sometimes, it allows me to feel like I’m walking with a group of friends, and other times, it makes me pause, reflect, and come home to work on my course syllabi, research, or fiction (which is one of my first loves.)

  1. What is your favorite part about being a faculty member? 

My favorite part about being a faculty member in the School of Education at UW Tacoma right now, is playing around with so many ways to stay connected with the folx I am teaching and learning with – including students and colleagues. This past summer 2020), I had the opportunity to participate in UW Tacoma's SEED (Strengthening Educational Excellence with Diversity), which provided me with real-time dialogue and reflexive strategy building with folx across campus. At the same time, I collaborated in an intimate space with folx in the Schools of Education and Nursing & Healthcare Leadership to build decolonial strategies for our EdD Program. Finally, I was also teaching students in Cohort 3 and Cohort 4 of our EdD program – getting to know folx personally and professionally shortened our distances and made some pretty solid bridges. All three spaces were incredibly invigorating and affirmed my reasons for coming to UW Tacoma.

Dr. Belinda Louie

Dr. Belinda Louie Featured for Project TELL  

Dr. Belinda Louie, a Founding Faculty of Education and a Professor in the School of Education, was featured in a UW Tacoma story about her passion for reading and supporting English Language Learners. Read more here about Dr. Louie’s background, lived experiences, and her Project Teaching English Language Learners: https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/node/53370



School of Education Hosts Summer 2020 Teaching English Language Learners Institute with Tacoma Public Schools

In partnership with the Tacoma Public Schools, a team of School of Education faculty and staff organized an online professional development institute on August 13, 2020 that focused on culturally responsive strategies, social-emotional learning, remote instruction, and mentorship strategies for K-12 English Language Learners (ELLs). Over 100 Tacoma teachers and administrators attended this session. This institute is part of Project TELL (grant funded), which is directed by School of Education Professor and Principal Investigator Dr. Belinda Louie.

Several School of Education faculty and staff participated as presenters including: Dr. Julia Aguirre, Dr. Laura Feuerborn, Carey Kirkwood, and Dr. Belinda Louie.

Special thanks to our TPS co-organizer Dr. Minh-Anh Hodge, Executive Director of the Global Learning Program. We also thank Superintendent Carla Santorno for her ongoing support of our dynamic partnership with the district.

Director of Educational Administration Search

The School of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma is seeking a Faculty Director for our Educational Administration Program, which prepares PK-12 district leaders and principals, to join us for the 2021-2022 academic year with a planned start in June 2021 (start date is negotiable). The faculty rank for this position is Professor of Practice.

The priority review date of applications is on January 04, 2021. The full job ad along with instructions for applicants is linked below: https://ap.washington.edu/ahr/position-details/?job_id=65315

Dr. Rob MacGregor, Director of the Ed Admin Program, will retire in June 2021 after four years of exceptional service to the School of Education and UW Tacoma. 

Special thanks to the search committee: Dr. Julia Aguirre and Dr. Chris Knaus (co-chairs), along with Dr. Robin Minthorn, Dr. José Rios, and Lynn Hermanson. 

Field Supervisor/Teaching Associate Positions 

The School of Education at the University of Washington Tacoma is seeking three (3) field supervisors/teaching associates ranging from 0.50 FTE-0.75 FTE to join our Teacher Certification Programs (TCPs) starting in academic year 2021-2022. 

The priority review date of applications will start on February 01, 2021. Direct links to the job ads and more information about our TCP are linked below:

  1. 0.50 FTE Field Supervisor (10-month contract): https://apply.interfolio.com/81417
  2. 0.75 FTE Field Supervisor (12-month contract): https://apply.interfolio.com/81422

Questions about these positions may be directed to Carey Kirkwood, Director of Field Placements & Partnerships, at cjkirk@uw.edu

Have a Story Idea?

We would love to learn more! Contact us at uwted@uw.edus.

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