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A Reflection on the Public Policy Fellowship

On my first day as a classroom teacher, after realizing that my school didn’t have a fully functioning library, I knew that someone at a level higher than my school had disregarded the education of my students. I was determined to have a seat at whatever table it was where these decisions were being made.

At an early age, my parents instilled in me a strong sense of civic engagement and social responsibility. I remember canvassing for local elections and registering voters with my father. As I grew older, I was able to make the connection between our political engagement and the policies that ultimately impacted our lives. I very much wanted to continue my work serving others by using my unique talents, experiences, and education, which led me to pursue public policy.

I saw the Public Policy Fellowship as the perfect opportunity to make a career change from the legal field into public policy. Quite frankly, I was unhappy and I knew I wanted to work in a space where I could help others — especially kids — and use my legal degree and background to do so. By staying in contact with my LEE regional director about available opportunities, the Public Policy Fellowship came up as an option. 

My experience as a Public Policy Fellow has been nothing short of amazing. I am serving as a fellow at the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C., a membership organization that represents the highest education official in each state. Since being here, I’ve co-authored a document titled Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education Chiefs that will be adopted and implemented in state education agencies across the nation. This document is a pragmatic approach to the work that state education agencies do, which can have a direct impact on equitable outcomes for students.

I know that the work I’ve done as a fellow will have a tremendous impact on hundreds of thousands of kids, especially those who need it the most, like students of color and students living in poverty. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and the ed policy landscape in Washington, D.C., and the country. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity. The PPF will help me to navigate the policy world and use my influence to make a difference. I will be more prepared and equipped to serve others, and create policies that are the most beneficial for all key stakeholders.

Anyone interested in helping kids at the policy level should apply to the PPF. The host organizations offered are world-class and will give you the chance to make the difference in the lives of countless students.

LEE and all of its workshops and fellowships have truly guided me at every step of my career since joining the corps. LEE has fed and nurtured my interest in politics, advocacy, and public policy — all with the backdrop of ending educational inequity. It has anchored me in making sure that my time and talents will always be used to ensure that my students — and all of the students that come after them — will have passionate people advocating for them, from the classroom to the White House.