I chose to apply to California State University, Los Angeles’s Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Urban Teaching and Learning Program for its breadth of instructors, range of multidisciplinary courses, the sincere respect extended to me by the professors and staff when I inquired about this program, the quality of scholarship produced by the Educational Leadership faculty, and your commitment to an interdisciplinary approach to supporting the graduate educational leaders. I have met several outstanding Education Department faculty members during my graduate studies at CSULA, including Dr. Carolyn Frank and Dr. Robert Land when I applied to and was accepted into the LA writing Project; Dr. Betty Bamberg in her 504 Seminar Graduate Course: Theory in Composition and Rhetoric; and Dr. Lois Andre-Bechley at the Doctorate in Educational Leadership orientation seminar on December 16th. I am also drawn to CSULA’s commitment to social justice as evident by the CSULA’s Education Department’s continued outreach to the community. I believe your program will provide a path towards the ‘genius’ of understanding the complicated challenges facing our public education system, and affecting a positive change. <br /><ul><li>I am dedicated to learning more about the social and multicultural intersections of Urban Education and Disability Studies, contributing to the field by practical application of existing theories and testing new hypotheses inside the classroom, and reaffirming my belief that teachers are change agents of social justice in urban public education.
I have demonstrated my leadership skills working as a secondary English teacher in the city of Bellflower, CA. since 2007, while simultaneously completing my Master of Arts in English from California State University, Los Angeles, and my CA Single Subject Credential in English through Teachers College San Joaquin County Office of Education.
I have demonstrated my commitment to Urban Education and Disability Studies by working as a substitute teacher at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall, and as a Special Education Instructional Assistant in Concord through Contra Costa County Office of Education.
I have demonstrated my service to underrepresented youth by volunteering as a tutor at Berkeley High School and as a CAHSEE prep tutor Castlemont High School in East Oakland while attending University of California, Berkeley for my Bachelor of Arts in English.
I have demonstrated my interest in the Diaspora by emphasizing "Anglophone and Multicultural Studies” in my BA, focusing my CSULA courses on Ethnic Literature, and my MA Comprehensive Exam will be on Post-Colonial Literature (1947 to Present).
I have demonstrated my interest in the Transnational African Diaspora when I organized Dr. Nadege T. Clitandre’s Haiti Soleil’s (http://www.haitisoleil.org/) “The Haiti Youth Photo Exhibit” at Bellflower High School on February 19, 2010, including a discussion with Dr. Clitandre, bringing a global perspective of teenagers to our student body, post-earthquake, to honor Black History Month. The exhibit was so successful that it was kept up during and after our WASC accreditation visit.</li></ul>My professional goal is to address the issues of social justice and equity I have witnessed as an educator in different academic settings, and to apply best practices at my campus implementing those new and improved findings. In The Disability Reader, edited by Lennard J. Davis, there are many key paradigm shift points essential to further develop our P-12 Education system. Davis acknowledges that Disability Studies “is a relatively new field of study,” but in my personal experience I agree with Chris Bell’s assertion that the “intersection of race, ethnicity and disability” must not be ignored. I have worked closely with Special Education Educators to create meaningful approaches to highly effective learning. In the same tenacious dedication I will attempt to bridge the divisions in educational leadership to create a more cohesive and inclusive plan of “socially responsible, dynamic, and transformative educators, who engage others, value diversity, operate with academic integrity, and believe in people and their educational futures.” <br />The greatest challenge facing our public schools is the ‘silence’ Audre Lorde warned us about, because indifference will not protect us. We must become active participants in the education process. In my attempt to paraphrase Cornel West’s paraphrasing of John Dewey’s The Public and Its Problems, “A true democracy values the public, values the non-market realities that transcend; values public education, public health, public transportation…” As noted by researchers Pedro A. Noguera and Jean Yonemura Wing’s in Unfinished Business, which examines the conundrum that education finds itself in: “This generation of educators has been called on to reduce racial disparities in achievement – to move beyond equity in opportunities and focus attention on the need for equity in results.” As a teacher I am very interested in learning more about the social and multicultural intersections of urban education; as a future education leader I feel it is my privilege serve this community; and as a compassionate student I believe it is my responsibility to learn as much as I possibly can about my fellow students. <br />Anti-racist scholar Tim Wise puts forth an academic question that strikes at the core of what defines the public school curriculum paradigm in his recent book, Color-Blind: “Is colorblind universalism sufficient to ameliorate persistent racial inequalities in income, wealth, housing, education and health care?...What would be the impact of colorblindness as a paradigm for thought and action among employers, teachers and others who interact with a racially diverse public? Would such an approach lessen racial discrimination or potentially make it worse.” I believe that improvement of our public school system hinges on addressing those divergent perceptions. <br />The specific focus of my tenacious academic agenda is a serious exploration of the perceived cultural relationship between cognitive learning and the underrepresented student. While this foci has been researched before, my approach will include other disciplines, such as Disabilities Study. The veil of poverty, as a functioning metaphor, operates in many area studies – interwoven in postmodern theory; its complexities and assumptions – and it is the perceived shared space of the underrepresented educational experience of the disabled and economically marginalized youth. This has been the driving force of my curiosity since I began community college. Each course I took, each professor I visited during office hours, each public lecture I attended, added to my inspiration to contribute my own unique brand of leadership and scholarship to the field. <br />I have learned along the way that the “American Education Experience” belongs to a global experience and I have learned that the African American Diaspora and Disability Studies are spatially connected, not necessarily geographically located. It is this arena of “genius” of understanding (as Harold Bloom writes), that I seek to obtain; it is the voice (Chinua Achebe) I want to hear; it is the endless impact of a beloved experience (Cathy Caruth) that I am engaged with. I also believe that as educators we must always begin anew, to make, to reconstruct, and to live life as a process – live to become (Paulo Freire). <br />My story requires knowing that my tale unraveled from a convoluted knot of existential ennui, or as is common among teenagers, unanswerable angst on the purpose of life itself. My life has been the pursuit of untwisting the Gordian path created by what plagues most Californian school students: numerous residences, poverty trailing the American Dream, blended families, undiagnosed disability in family members, the alienating impact of tracking, and the unique celebrity culture of the sun drenched state. And so, my approach to learning and teaching mirrors that of our displaced. It is visual and appears like a kaleidoscope, yet my methodologies are thematically structured and pedagogically sound. <br />I recently utilized my knowledge of visual marketing to create a compelling PowerPoint presentation on how I see and hear the literal and emotional exploration of several African and African-American texts. I titled the 45 minute, 195 slide, visual-audio show "A Kaleidoscope Journey Thru African Diasporic Poetics of Space" (http://www.slideshare.net/DeanRamser/csula-510-final-pp-a-kaleidoscope-journey-thru-african-diasporic-poetics-of-space): a CDR copy is included for your viewing. It is my privilege to support the tremendous opportunity of intercultural dialogue projects in our public schools by lending my practical team-player experience from feature film and television production, and my tenacious enthusiasm as an educator to the development of dynamic social justice reformers. I possess the outstanding qualities you are looking for in the "ideal candidate," plus I bring a fierce dedication to social justice by enhancing our appreciation of our multicultural global village through multimedia communication.<br />