Education as a part of life
I grew up in Tunnel Hill, GA and attended Whitfield County Schools. I grew up in classrooms, because both of my parents were lifelong teachers. I was born during the school year, and the way my mom tells it I would have been born at North Whitfield Middle School if a coworker and friend had not gotten her to the hospital.
I graduated from Agnes Scott College in 2002 and obtained my teaching certification there the year after graduation. Then, I taught fourth grade in the City Schools of Decatur for two years, after doing student teaching there as well. While working on
"I will always be an advocate for Georgia's students. No matter where I am, or what I'm doing, I will do my best to push the Department of Education to focus on the well-being of students and teachers and to work on making our schools welcoming, antiracist, safe places for all."
my master's in education at the University of Georgia, I started law school to be able to help children in more ways. During my year of service through AmeriCorps at then Inner Harbour (now Youth Villages) in Douglasville, I studied and applied to law schools. At Emory School of Law, I immersed myself in public interest law and again gravitated toward education through the Juvenile Defender Clinic, which has law students provide representation to children in school and delinquency cases.
I also participated in the Know Your Rights Project in which I again taught students, this time about their rights when interacting with law enforcement. I also went through foster parent training and fostered children during my last year of law school. My oldest son was placed with me my final semester of law school, and I was lucky to get the chance to adopt him. Oh yeah, I also completed that master's degree program at UGA in children's literature while in law school, an unofficial dual degree!
When I graduated law school, I taught English as a Second Language at the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and interned in a public defender office, while looking for a public interest legal job. I went back to Whitfield County for a staff attorney position with the Dalton office of the Georgia Legal Services Program. For three years, I represented mostly Spanish speaking and Limited English Proficient clients in many types of cases.
I worked at the Piedmont office of Georgia Legal Services for six years and was a supervising attorney in that office while also working with the statewide Georgia's Victim Legal Assistance Network. There, I found education again and represented students in school discipline and Individualized Education Programs in counties outside of metro Atlanta.
Until recently, I worked as a senior attorney in the Kinship Care Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, while also directing a project to train attorneys to represent children in school discipline and special education issues (Legal Education Advocacy Project). You already read why I left this amazing job, to again grow my advocacy for Georgia's children. But this time to also fight for teachers.
I will always be an advocate for Georgia's student's. No matter where I am, or what I'm doing, I will do my best to push the Department of Education to focus on the well-being of students and teachers and to work on making our schools welcoming, antiracist, safe places for all.
I currently live in Atlanta with my wife and our two children.