This site is a collection of my blogs, writings, and interviews that have been published over the last few years. Currently, I serve as the Director of Not In Our School (NIOS). I have spoken on the subject of how to combat bullying and create safe and inclusive schools at conferences, schools, and universities across the United States, including at the White House.
My new book,“Identity Safe Classrooms: Places to Belong and Learn,” co-authored with Dr. Dorothy Steele was published by Corwin Press in September 2013. Prior to working at The WorkingGroup, I spent over 35 years in public education in California. I have worked as a preschool director in Healdsburg, teacher and principal in the Oakland Unified School District, Elementary Curriculum Director for the Palo Alto Unified School District and Superintendent of the Luther Burbank School District.
While serving in Palo Alto in 2003, I initiated Not In Our School: Palo Alto, one of the first NIOS initiatives featured on KQED public television. Since that time, this yearly K-12 district-wide effort to combat bullying, harassment, homophobia, and racism has served as a model for the national NIOS program. Currently, as the NIOS Director I develop standards-based bullying prevention curriculum and has worked with over 150 NIOS efforts at schools and colleges across the UniteStates. I have been hosted at the White House twice where I briefed President Obama’s education staff. My efforts have included partnerships with the PTA, NEA, Facing History, the United Sikhs, the Coastside Harley Club, Quality Auto Body, and MAKE Visual and Kutroc Records who both did a pro bono public service announcements for NIOS.
Together with my husband, Rito Vargas, I own 200 acres of rain forest property in Nicaragua along the San Juan River near the border with Costa Rica. In addition to preserving this small piece of virgin rain forest, we bring student groups and host visitors who come to learn about the environment and support and learn from local Nicaraguans who live and work in the region.