Click on a person to read their bio.
Dr. Delane has been the Executive Director of the Life Learning Academy since its inception in 1998. As Principal and Executive Director of Life Learning Academy for the last 20 years, she has provided a community for hundreds of young people – primarily youth of color from low-income families, living in neighborhoods where violence and instability are commonplace – propelling them into a productive adulthood. Dr. Delane credits the Delancey Street Foundation with saving her life in the early 1970s, and teaching her how to create a healthy community. Dr. Delane has over 30 years of experience working with substance abusers and ex-convicts in jails, prisons, and community programs. In 1997 she started a highly successful in-custody substance abuse program, Choices, which is still in operation in the men and women’s jails in San Mateo, California. Dr. Delane has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University, is a licensed psychologist, and holds a PhD. in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California.
Mr. Miller has been at LLA since the school opened in 1998. He served as the U.S. History teacher for seven years; 11 years as Vice Principal, and has been the Chief Operating Officer for the most recent two years. He was a member of the planning team that designed LLA. Prior to opening the school, Craig worked with Delancey Street for six years, during which he developed and evaluated juvenile and adult criminal justice system reforms. Craig served as the basketball coach, tutor and mentor at Balboa High School in San Francisco and site coordinator at the Bayview Safe Haven. He has a Teaching Credential in Social Studies and a Masters in Education from San Francisco State University with an emphasis on teaching disengaged adolescents, as well as an Administrative Services Credential.
Dr. Fields has been an educator for over 20 years. He began his education career as a classroom teacher at Malcolm X Academy and later taught at Golden Gate Elementary School, both in SFUSD. He has held several administrative positions starting as an assistant principal at 21st Century K-8 Academy and Franklin Elementary Schools as well as serving as the principal for five different schools over the course of 12 years. He went on to become an Associate Superintendent, supporting site leadership teams at several charter schools in Oakland. He has also held roles outside of the school system helping to develop innovative new school models while working for NewSchools Venture Fund where he developed a strategy for investing $20 million focused on solving the Human Capital crisis in Oakland. His latest role shifted to serving at risk youth during the out of school time as the VP of Clubhouses and High School Programs at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. Jamal holds a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, an Administrative Services Credential, a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz, a Masters degree in Education from UC Berkeley and a Doctoral degree in Education Leadership from Harvard. He is thrilled to be a part of the LLA Family and is loving his role in teaching a journalism class, supporting the teaching team and otherwise working to help LLA provide the best possible education for our students.
Dr. Blazer has 14 years of experience in program development, implementation, and evaluation in the education and health sectors. She has designed, implemented, and assessed multimillion-dollar programs in the United States and abroad, from South America to sub-Saharan Africa. Cassie taught health for LLA in 2008-2009, and has been part of the development team since August 2013. She earned a Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) from UC Berkeley, a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from Boston University School of Public Health, and a BA Sociology & BA Critical Gender Studies from UC San Diego.
Kelly Baker has been at Life Learning Academy since 2017. In her job as Executive Assistant she supports both the School and Development Program. Kelly attended the University of Oregon where she was a sociology major. Kelly is new to the Bay Area having moved recently from Arizona, where she worked for a practice of orthopedic surgeons. She enjoys working in the school environment, especially LLA, where the unique education model supports the individual challenges their student population has.
- San Francisco City College
“Change the way you see things, and the things you see will change.”
As a graduate of the Delancey Street Foundation, I am a firm believer that every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the best they can possibly be.
Why I Work at LLA
Having an employer say to me that in all her years in working with student interns, our student from Life Learning Academy who recently worked with her during the Fall Semester, had shown the most improvement of any student that she had worked wiith and really benefited from her mentorship. And this is why she does what she does, by offering internships to youth, particularly underserved youth. It made me feel very proud to be a part of that particular youth’s work experience.
- College of San Mateo
I am a Graduate from the Delancey Street Foundation where I spent 13 years developing the best of myself working my way up to become the Administrative Assistant and Personal Secretary for the President, Dr. Mimi Silbert. Throughout those years I learned every skill that is needed to run an office of a busy executive from keeping her calendar, making travel arrangements and setting up meetings to with CEO’s of large Corporations as well as facilitate meetings with dignitaries in Congress and the White House. Along with my primary duties in the office, I worked in many of the Delancey Street training schools that ranged from the Crossroads Café and Delancey Street Restaurant to our intake department and interviewing of new residents. Along with the work I did in the office, I learned how to become a counselor who has both the warmth and empathy to feel what others feel and with the ability to provide a kind strictness that allowed others to fix the things that work against them.
Upon graduation of Delancey Street, I was fortunate enough to work with those in the Criminal Justice field where I ran a drug and alcohol program for 4 years that was within the San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City, Ca. I used my skills as a counselor to deal with the behavior of those who were incarcerated and who wanted to change by learning that if they change their habits and behaviors that would help them internalize within to become productive members of society.
Why I work at LLA
When LLA reached out asking if I would be interested in becoming the dormitory oversight coordinator, without hesitation and not knowing what this entailed, I said yes. I felt that this was an opportunity to help and give back what was given to me. I believe that a student’s job is to get the best education possible and by helping those students who may have slipped through the cracks of the larger schools by giving them the support need in a home where they feel safe, feel supported and get an opportunity to thrive.
I am the Development Coordinator at Life Learning Academy where I support the fundraising and communication initiatives. I was raised along the beaches and strawberry fields of Oxnard, California with my mother and three younger siblings. I moved to the Bay Area to earn a B.A Communication Studies and Marketing at San Francisco State University. Previously, I managed communication, engagement, and fundraising initiatives for the YMCA of SF where I collaborated with school-wide communities in Visitacion Valley, Sunnydale, Mission, and Bayview to provide resources to families and students. I collaborated on public health and development projects in Central America with Global Brigades. My hobbies include traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with family. (Pronouns: She/her)
Why I work at LLA
Growing up in a single parent low income household I recognized early on the barriers to obtaining a quality education, the disparities in economic opportunities, and what the impacts of quality housing and healthcare access are on the mind and body. Being a first-generation college student navigating the education system alone was challenging. Throughout my journey, I came across mentors who helped me build the emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual capacity to graduate in four years and on the dean's list. Without those mentors to guide me, my life would have been very different then it is today. Students, especially those who experience tragedy and trauma need leaders in their lives to empower them, help to recognize their full potential, and build concrete goals. LLA does that for every student from the moment they walk in the door to years after graduation. I am proud to be part of a dedicated team that isn’t afraid to make bold moves to address the needs of the WHOLE human.
- BA – Graduated from San Francisco Culinary Academy Le Cordon Bleu in 2003 with a degree in Hospitality restaurant management
At the peak of my culinary career I was Executive chef at Thomas John Events, a premier catering company in San Francisco specializing in weddings, large galas and on-site corporate lunches. During my time at TJE I began to consult for two well respected small businesses in San Francisco. I advised my clients on how to manage inventory, employees, business flow and menu development. When I began to start thinking about my next steps in my career I moved onto The Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula as the executive chef/Instructor. I created clubhouse curriculum, including job placement, job training and launched an in-house catering department where we executed events from 20 to 300 people.
Why I Teach at LLA
It had always been a lifelong dream of mine to be a teacher to those students who slipped through the cracks of our education system. In my time at The Boys & Girls Club I had begun my journey into making that dream a reality. Working closely with who would eventually be the chief academic officer at LLA I began to learn and implement project based learning. Using PBL as the backbone of the culinary program at BGCP I began to solidify my teaching style. When I was presented with the opportunity to join the LLA team I realized that my lifelong passion was becoming a reality. Within my first week at LLA I made connections with students that I know will last a lifetime. Teaching students how to nourish themselves safely in the kitchen is a tool that they will use for the rest of their life. In addition to teaching basic life skills I began exposing our youth to possible career opportunities in a the fastest growing job sector (hospitality) in the US. Teaching our youth to be confident young adults through food is exactly why I am elated to be a member of the LLA team.
- BA Religion – Whitman College
- Teaching Credential – Cal State University, East Bay
I began working at Life Learning Academy in 2019. I was born and raised in Oakland where I still live. I have taught at all kinds of schools in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, San Lorenzo, and the Dominican Republic. I love working with students of all ages, from preschoolers to high school seniors and beyond. I love supporting high school students enrolled in college classes as I'm inspired by anyone who is committed to their learning. I have a particular interest in history, anthropology, writing, music, languages, drama and puppets.
Why I Teach at LLA
As a student in my youth and as a teacher in my professional life, I struggled to find a community in which I felt like I fit. I had read about LLA in the Chronicle and knew it was a special place, but I didn't know just how special until I began working here and passed under the words "Welcome To Change" emblazoned on the front entryway. I was ready to welcome a change in my own life, but more than that, I wanted to be in a place that embraces, encourages, and teaches the transformational value of change. What LLA teachers and administrators do for the students every day is astounding. The faculty and staff at LLA treat students and each other with the compassion, patience and love that I missed at practically every other school. To me, teaching lifelong learning requires much more than just instruction in skills and knowledge- to become lifelong learners, students must feel safe and honored in their own identities, celebrated for their successes, cared for, worthy, and loved. I am equally overjoyed and proud to teach at LLA.
- BA – San Francisco State University
- MA Special Education – Dominican University
- MS Educational Administration – SFSU-UC Berkeley Urban Leadership Program
- K-9 Multiple Subjects
- K-12 Mild Moderate Learning Handicapped
- K-12 Severely Handicapped Services
- Educational Administration Services
It has been my privilege to serve as an educator working with students in San Francisco and the Bay Area for over 38 years. During this time I have assumed a variety of roles within the SFUSD: Special Education Teacher; Resource Specialist; Program Consultant for the Gifted and Talented Program; Special Education Content Specialist; Assistant Principal and K-8 Principal. In 1998, I provided instructional and technical support to the students and staff at Life Learning Academy in their extended day learning program. I knew from my very first days at LLA, that this unique program changed lives one student at a time. Following my retirement from SFUSD seven years ago, I was elated to resume my tenure as a teacher at Life Learning Academy, doing work that I love, with students and staff I admire, at a school that I firmly believe provides the educational program ALL students deserve.
Why I Teach at LLA
Some years ago I had a student who was completing her probation with SFJPD. She was a bright girl with a tough life who really took advantage of the services and resources offered through probation and LLA. I worked with her numerous community allies to provide a comprehensive program to meet her unique and challenging needs. When her probation ended, she was one semester away from graduation. However, with the end of her probation, her services away from school dropped, her support system collapsed, she was homeless and she began to falter. She would disappear from school for prolonged periods of time. But then she would call, and we would talk, and she would ask if she could come back to school. The answer was always Yes. Because that is what LLA does best. If a student wants to try, the answer is always Yes. Over the next 2 semesters she called and came back 4 times. She was welcomed and supported. Each time she made incremental progress toward reaching HER GOAL of a high school diploma. In May 2015, she graduated from LLA on stage in cap and gown. Diploma in hand, she thanked the school for believing in her and then claimed her victory for herself. She was the change she wanted to be. That’s what we do at LLA.
- Community Studies and Latin American Latino Studies – UCSC
- Teaching Credential, Life Sciences – San Francisco State University
I graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Community studies and Latin American Latino Studies. My community focus for my degree was to design and implement programing in the arts and nature connection for a community center in a low-income housing project in the Santa Cruz Beach Flats, Mercy Housing Center. I went on to work with Bay Area Wilderness Training, and Civicorps East Bay before landing as the Life and Physical Sciences Teachers at Life Learning Academy where I have now been for 10 years. I got my teaching credential at SF State. At LLA I run the environmental sciences program including the garden, sailing, and rock climbing programs.
Why I Teach at LLA
I had a group of young boys who were brought together to work one day at the school farmer’s market stand. They were all pretty isolated and shy students, but were engaged with the entrepreneurship farm stand program, and excited to share their professional farm goodies with the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market community. That day was so fun, with the three boys working together filling unique roles to efficiently reach the public, and sell the most jars of golden honey, flower bunches, plants, and sweet lemon curd they could. It was also the beginning of a deep connection between the previously isolated youngsters, who continued to support and pull each other up for the remainder of their high school years and onto the graduation stage.
- West Los Angeles College
I was raised in the city’s Mission District; my brother was in gangs and my mom worked 2 or more jobs sometimes to support us. I grew up always watching my brother get arrested and I tried doing the opposite of him. So I started skating and doing graffiti. After middle school I dropped out, never enrolling in a high school. I was on a slippery slope to nowhere. I started hanging out with my brother’s friends after my brother was shipped out to a maximum security bootcamp in Pennsylvania. After I fully embraced “that life”, I realized I deserve more! Watching drugs turn my “friends” into something evil was enough for me. I was living on Treasure Island on and off, and I started taking notice of LLA. I decided to enroll myself back into school and that decision saved my life. Something just clicked. Everyone was on the same page, no BS. It was about showing up, doing your work, not fighting and graduating. This school gave me a second chance and taught me real life skills. It also gave me a chance to find something that I enjoyed and later led to me starting a career in the bike world. For 10 years I successfully managed 2 bike shops in Santa Monica and provided consulting work before opening my own business with my wife that I met here 15 years ago.
Why do I teach at LLA?
I always wanted to give back and teach. The bike shop is exactly how I remembered it 15 years ago and being back there I truly understand why teachers do what they do. It was my second or third class I ever taught and another teacher popped in to see how things were going. He asked one of the students what they were doing and the student corrected the bike terminology of his question. That student had zero knowledge of those bike terms prior to the bike shop program and he was quick to tell him the correct terms. As I saw that I felt a rush of butterflies in my stomach and that’s how I know this is where I need to be. Full circle, back at the place that saved me, gave to me and now it’s my time to give back.
- West Los Angeles College
Growing up in San Francisco I didn’t exactly fit in as a kid and over the years I would run into trouble on the street and in my home. I became lost in the cracks of the school system, dropping out of school and I was losing myself. After one incident led to another I found myself at a crossroads to either continue on a destructive path or to walk a different road. In 2005 that road to my second chance was being offered to me as a teenager by the loving people at Life Learning Academy. My life changed course and I created my foundation there, gained amazing support from the staff and my peers alike, and met the love of my life. We carry the philosophy of “each one, teach one” at LLA and this has become the seat of my heart navigating through life, later inspiring me to pursue my degree in Child Development and Education. After LLA we moved to Los Angeles for 11 years and in 2018 we established Wanderlust Cycles, a mobile bike shop originally located in Santa Monica. Again one experience led to another and we have now found ourselves back in full circle with the place that saved us as kids. It is the most surreal experience healing with LLA and I am very passionate about helping the next generations to come.
Why do I teach at LLA?
There are the new pathways that open up for change, and then there is the resiliency and the strength shown by the ones that are ready to walk them. In my time back at LLA I have met some of the most resilient souls and despite challenges in and outside of the classroom, they have the willingness to show up every day and to try things they’ve never done before. One of my favorite moments has been working with one of the students in the garden. When I first met her she didn’t like the thought of any insect near her, but as she continued over the following weeks she became so thoughtful of all plant and bug life. I think it’s a beautiful representation of how I’ve seen her embrace other life changes and this is what it’s all about to me. It’s about helping another rise to the challenges and creating that positive circle of support that everyone deserves so they can have a solid foundation to thrive.
- B.A. Mathematics - University of California, Berkeley
Minor - Math and Science Education
- Teaching Credential, Single Subject (Math) - University of California, Berkeley
Growing up in Fresno, I always appreciated the concreteness of math and the way it all fit together. Every problem was like solving a puzzle, and every problem is connected to some bigger picture. I enjoyed honing in on the critical-thinking and processing skills that each equation required and discovering the web language that described our physical world. But I am well aware that not everyone feels the same way. I went on to major in mathematics and earn a teaching credential at UC Berkeley because I believe that all students deserve to experience math in a creative and encouraging environment. I was inspired to develop a classroom for students where math had a personality. Students use their hands and minds to build their own understanding of numbers relative to the real world. The hope is that one day, math becomes tangible, practical, intriguing, and dare I say, gratifying.
Why I teach at LLA
It always felt to me that school had the potential to be so much more than it was. I dreamed of a place where kids from all different backgrounds would be encouraged to walk diverse paths of life. They would be inspired to support and lead one another, and their lives outside of academic walls would be seen, heard, and considered. A place where academics would be more than grades and growth in all areas would be celebrated. LLA is that place. That place where a student says “I hate to admit this, but it is kind of like a puzzle! I see it” and I get to smile and reply, “Next step, building a bigger picture!”
- BA Political Science – San Francisco State University
- MA Political Science –San Francisco State University
- Teaching Credential, Social Science – San Francisco State University
- Certification, Yoga Teaching, 200-hour
A Bay Area native, Diana Gradstein is a 15-year veteran of teaching. She began her teaching career at San Rafael High School in 2003 teaching Social Studies to English Language Learners. She has been teaching at LLA for 7 years and loves working with teenagers. Her favorite subjects are United States History as well as American Government. Diana loves teaching and practicing yoga as well, and leads yoga retreats during the summer all over the world. Diana lives in the East Bay with her husband and 4-year old daughter.
Why I Teach at LLA
I had a young woman in class who really resisted yoga for the first month of the class. She finally began to let go of her resistance and embrace the calm that yoga brought to her mind and body. Over the course of the semester, I was able to watch a complete transformation. Her attitude toward yoga, and her ability to practice self-awareness was incredible. She began to learn how to quiet her mind, connect to her breath and body and relax. That was incredibly empowering to her and a beautiful thing to witness. This practice helped her in all aspects of her life, not only on her yoga mat but in dealing with challenging situations off of her mat as well. Here is an article about that student.
- BA English Education – San Francisco State University
- Teaching Credential, English Language Arts – San Francisco State University
Born and raised in Texas, and a California transplant since the age of 16, I’ve come to call the SF Bay area my new home. I attended several high schools as a teen, including two traditional high schools and three continuation schools. My teen years were rife with difficulty, and so my priority as a teenager was on becoming independent as soon as possible. Thus, I came to the teaching profession as a career-changer later in life. I spent several years working in the restaurant industry before becoming a CMT–Certified Massage Therapist. I then operated a successful small private practice in the central valley for 5 years, and supplemented my income by freelance writing and teaching community college noncredit courses on aromatherapy, body care product making, children’s art, puppetry, and drama before deciding to return to college and complete a bachelors degree. I knew that I enjoyed writing and teaching, and so I chose to pursue a teaching credential in Secondary English Education. I bring a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to the teaching profession, as well as an entrepreneurial outside-the-box mindset born from my own unconventional path to the classroom.
Why I Teach at LLA
One of my favorite experiences I have had working at LLA was during one of our class debates. In ELA, we frequently practice participating in class discussion, and I had students debating the question, “Can Money Buy Happiness?” This question is one of my favorites to engage students with because it encompasses so many important life questions–What does it mean to truly be happy? What is money really for, anyway? What do you need to “be happy?” What is our relationship to money? And so on. As students wrote and shared their positions, asking questions, and debating their points, one student pointed out something that made my English-teacher-heart proud: This student pointed out that the question asks whether money can BUY happiness, but happiness is an emotion, and emotions cannot be purchased. Only things can be purchased. It’s little moments like this, when students display critical thinking and close reading skills while engaging in spirited discussion, that we ELA teachers hope for. This prompted further discussion and reflection on what the deeper sources of emotional happiness are. All in all, the students left the class feeling energized and I stepped out feeling incredibly proud of all of them for engaging in discourse around a topic that will serve them well in the long run.
- MPH Student – San Francisco State University
- BA – University of California, Berkeley
I started college with the intention of becoming an interpreter. I have always loved learning languages and working with others, and I knew that I wanted my career to involve me connecting people to the resources they need no matter what language barriers they face. During my second year of college, I started working with an organization called Peer Health Exchange (PHE), which trains college students to deliver a skills-based, medically accurate health curriculum to high school students. I began teaching in schools all over the Bay Area and discovered that this information was not only important for my students to learn, it was also extremely relevant to me. I continued volunteering with PHE for the rest of my college career and also began facilitating workshops with Shalom Bayit, a Jewish Domestic Violence Agency that provides prevention workshops to students of all ages. Health literacy and basic communication skills was extremely lacking in all of these classrooms, and that I knew that I could use the skills I learned in my linguistics classes to create health workshops that empowered students with the language and skills that they need.
Why I Teach at LLA
During my last semester at UC Berkeley, I was placed as a peer health educator at Life Learning Academy for a small class of boys. Our class had an immediate connection. We talked about extremely personal topics, and still, the students were open, trusting and asked thoughtful questions. They were willing to share their experiences with me, and they wanted ideas and suggestions for how to navigate difficult situations. These classes showed me that students want to have these conversations. They want to talk to someone about things that are happening in their lives, and I am so grateful that I get to be that person. I teach at LLA because the students prove to me every day that they are committed to empowering themselves with the tools that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
- BA – Cal State East Bay
Being a mixed girl from Oakland, I was a lost and angry teenager. I fell into gang affiliation and was making poor decisions as an impressionable youth. I was fortunate to have been mentored by an incredible art teacher who saw my potential as an artist and a person. Because of this, I found my self, I claimed my worth as a young person and began to build my confidence as an artist. All it takes is at least one positive role model adult in a young person’s life to greatly impact that student’s trajectory. Because of the support I received from my art teacher, I got more serious about work and school, I began to work with children as a young person and quickly rose in the ranks to be a coordinator of an after-school program and teaching art to multiple grade levels and skill sets. I began facilitating mural workshops to Bay Area public schools in 2005 and today I am a successful entrepreneur artist and educator; I get paid to travel to other countries and facilitate mural workshops. I am working on my BA in Art History and teaching credential at the moment with plans to complete a MA in library sciences.
Why I Teach at LLA
When LLA reached out to me to facilitate a mural workshop with high school students, I jumped at the chance. We had 1 week to design and paint a mural together and we completed our mission successfully. This was the seed that bloomed into a teaching position at LLA as the art instructor. I felt such an instant connection with the school and with the students. I am so happy that I get to give back to others with the power of art, I get to pay forward the guidance and support I needed as a teenager. As a teacher and a parent I know how important a community is for a child. LLA is more than a school, it is a game changer. I am thankful I get to be a part of it.
B.A. English, University of Massachusetts
Adam moved from Boston, Mass to San Francisco in the summer of 2000 to pursue a career in the music industry as a recording/performing artist. Fate intervened and brought him to the Delancey Street Foundation where the founder, Mimi Silbert, offered him an opportunity at a then Delancey program, the Life Learning Academy. Adam began teaching American Literature, and Music Appreciation and Entrepreneurship. His current administrative position as Student Affairs Director has him working closely with the students who continue to inspire him. Adam still writes and records music, and has released five studio albums.
Why I Teach at LLA
I attended a field trip with about 25 LLA students to a digital arts college in Berkeley. We had two students on the trip who were from rival territories in San Francisco. Soon after the tour of the facility began, we started to sense tension between the two. I grabbed one of the students and took him back to my car. We left the facility and began driving home. During the ride, the student expressed to me all the frustration he was feeling. He explained that he wanted to make something of his life, and that it would be difficult for him to separate from the street life he grew up around and was so familiar with. He was still in defense mode from what had happened on the trip and I could feel him getting angrier and angrier, unable to let go of his inner turmoil as we traveled over the Bay Bridge and made our way back to Treasure Island. Suddenly I realized that I hadn’t come prepared with enough money to pay the tolls. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to pay a steep penalty. But given that my student was still in the throws of emotion, I didn’t bring up the dilemma in conversation. Just as we approached the tollbooth, he became apparent to him that I didn’t have the proper amount. This student, who did not have much money himself; a 15 year old fighting deep internal conflict, in the blood boiling aftermath of a near confrontation minutes earlier, reached into his pocket and gave me the money for the toll. He told me not to worry, that he just didn’t want me to have to pay a penalty. It reminded me of who hides under these tortured exteriors…underneath the disillusionment; the scowls, the paranoia and strong defenses are loyal, thoughtful, compassionate teens that have simply lost their way. It has affected and informed my approach to Life Learning students ever since.
- BS Kinesiology - California State East Bay
- National Academy of Sports Medicine CPT
After working as a personal trainer in San Francisco for many years, I realized I wanted to help people as a Physical Therapist. After working as an assistant in a PT office, I quickly realized that it was not for me. I then volunteered at an after school program for kids and that is when I realized that I wanted to help kids find a passion for sport and exercise. I received my Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis on teaching from California State East Bay. After working in elementary schools and middle schools I realized that high school was where I could have a lasting impact on student’s lives.
Why I teach at LLA
Having grown up in a single family home during my high school years I quickly found myself getting off track with school. I ended up getting sent to a continuation school my sophomore year and realized how much I missed competitive sports. My high school consisted of two bungalows and one ping pong table, not exactly the breeding ground for an elite athlete. I spent my high school years yearning to play organized sports, but ended up settling for pickup games in rough neighborhoods. I know first hand how challenging growing up in an unstable environment can be and my goal in life is to help young teens find a positive outlet for their angst and energy. I try to live by a quote that goes through my head daily “Be the person you needed when you were younger” -Ayesha Siddiqi