The birth of a new year is meant to be a time of personal growth. We reflect on the past year and strive to make the next even better without losing focus of staying in the present. At present, I’m embarking on what feels like a new career as I leave curriculum behind and am ready to focus on school safety. Growing up in a family of educators enabled me to see the beauty of education. It was only natural for me to follow the path of my grandmother that came to California as a child of migrant farm workers escaping the Dust Bowl that destroyed their family’s farm in Oklahoma. She lived her life in a small rural town in California and started teaching at 19 in a one room schoolhouse and enjoyed the classroom for another 40 years, beloved in her community.

I wanted that same experience and entered the classroom in a large, impoverished community in Southern California. I was 24 and had control of 20 beautiful kindergarteners. It was exciting and incredibly challenging since I’d just finished college with very little classroom experience. I was placed in a portable at the very back of a large campus with my only connection to the far away school office, a phone that wasn’t always answered. I was working at one of the most challenging schools in a very impoverished community and it felt like a crisis loomed almost daily. In one year, I had an unannounced drug raid on a parent picking up, homeless people sleeping at my classroom door, kiddos that often came ill, and a sweet boy that had so much sadness and rage in him that he lashed out daily. There were many moments I found myself alone in crisis. At that time PTSD wasn’t understood, but I know I suffered from it and all I just wanted was the best for my students. Little did I know, this experience would lead me to working for the company I find myself at now, Centegix.

That year shaped me as a teacher and the parent I soon became after. I decided after several years in the classroom, that I wanted to be able to affect more than the small group of kids I had each year. I moved into sales at a small company that saw potential in me and spent almost 7 years focusing on intervention for young English Learners. From there I had interest in learning and growing and moved into helping older students recover failed courses with an online program that really made a difference. After 5 years I started to feel that tug that had led me to change prior.

I was introduced to Centegix and started my journey of exploration into the world of protecting educators and students. I was immediately thrust back into those traumatic classroom memories and wishing I’d had a way to call for help when a variety of crises happened. I now find myself committed to helping those that deserve a safe space to learn and grow, especially at a time we find ourselves more vulnerable than ever. Yes, there are other safety alert systems out there, but I see a flaw in these phone dependent apps that require an educator to turn their focus away from a crisis. I was astounded to learn that educators used the Centegix badge alert button over 10,000 times this last fall. The potential for helping even more educators and students pointed me to Centegix, and my hope to bring this life saving security platform to as many school districts across the 11 states I now am proud to serve.

As I mentioned, this is the start of a new year with big changes, and I hope you’re as passionate about protecting our future as I find myself today.