Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Brillian and Compassionate Citizen

Name: Lindsey Van Zanten

TFA Corps Year - 2009 New Mexico

Years Washington State: I spent 4 years at UW before just moving back this month.

Why do you work for change for kids?My most sincere and deepest belief is that education is how things change. The confidence, material, peer learning, social interaction, opportunity pathways, and so many other facets of what excellent school could look like- inspires me to my core. I have witnessed biases, low self-esteem, generation-long family struggles, apathetic attitudes, and lack of intellectual or social confidence, turn upside down because of what happened within the four walls of a truly excellent classroom, and the social supports that were able to back up those efforts. Every kid, especially those whose cards are stacked against them just because of their zip code, deserve the opportunity to achieve at the highest levels. Our world is desperately in need of these brilliant and compassionate citizens, and we need to step up and give them the tools.

How do you stay connected to education?I'm currently involved in several Seattle reform projects and pursuing a career in policy and advocacy with a specific focus on teacher development, and early childhood initiatives.

What are your hopes for schools in the Puget Sound?My hope is that there would be an underlying vision, evident from the hallways to the instruction to the PTA meetings to the school buses, that we cannot settle for anything less than doing whatever it takes for our kids. I want that relentless push to be taken seriously, to be able to stand in the face of fear or risky change or criticism; for every stakeholder to realize that there is no acceptable excuse for this to go on any longer, that old methods haven't and won't get the job done, that the potential for our students is so monumental and precious, that every moment lost not being strategic is a moment that we will never get back.