I'm co-founder of The Respect Institute. We partner with middle and high school teachers--and parents--to deliver a social-emotional lessons from our research-based toolkit: Respect 360. I've taught middle school and high school students nationwide as a guest teacher, and focus primarily on teacher and admin professional development.
I'm passionate about creating deeper, caring connections between myself and students--including when those students are teachers. I focus on a blend of story-telling, data sharing, small group discussion/writing, and report outs.
I'm also co-author of the best-selling book for teen girls, RESPECT, and led the creation of groundbreaking self-respect building tools, such as The Respect Basics, used by more than 75,000 youth and their teachers in schools, jails, and prevention/intervention programs around the globe for the past decade. I've been featured by CNN, ABC, National Public Radio, USA Today, Teen Vogue and partnered with The Obama Administration and Clinton Global Initiative. Most recently I was a top-five national finalist for the American Express NGen Leadership Award, was most named one of the '42 leading women in education' by the University of Southern California, and was a Local Hero Award Winner by Cosmopolitan for Latinas. In 2015, I was appointed to the Juvenile Justice Commission for Santa Clara County, California.
I was dis-engaged student for many years. Mostly because I was suffering from a lot of untreated trauma. This is what makes me passionate about empowering teachers with trauma-informed classroom management and relationship-building skills to reach our most vulnerable students. Eventually, I connected with hero teachers who helped me forge a path to graduation. I'm the first person in my family to graduate from high school and college. I have a B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University and I'm a certified professional co-active coach (CPCC).
She is a domestic violence survivor whose multi-racial family struggled for respect amid issues like substance abuse, incarceration, high-school dropout and teen pregnancy. As a young adult, her mission became to create a world where “respect for all” is the status quo. A nationally recognized youth development expert and award-winning journalist,