WHERE MY STORY BEGINS
If someone told that little girl that one day she would be running for an elected office, she probably wouldn't have believed it.
My story starts with this little girl. I am a proud multiracial Asian American. Born in the Bay Area and raised in Northern Nevada, I lived what I would describe as your typical childhood. I went to school, participated in extracurriculars -4-H, band, and girl's golf - and, after graduating high school, I went to college. Growing up in an Asian household, I started college with culturally-influenced aspirations of becoming either a doctor or lawyer. I graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno (Go Wolf Pack!), but realized politics was not my calling. After some pondering, I decided I wanted to go into Education.
TO MISS BEDFORD, WITH LOVE
I returned (actually, I never really left) to the University of Nevada, Reno for my Masters and Doctorate in Education. During my Masters program, I obtained my teaching license and began my education career in a 6th grade classroom. I taught at Sierra Vista Elementary - now Lemelson STEM Academy - located in Reno, NV, and my time at that school, with my students and their families, changed my life forever.
Lemelson is a Title I school, with a highly diverse student population; quite different from the schools I attended growing. I still remember the first time my students told me there had been a shooting in their neighborhood; I was shocked and asked if they were all okay, to which they replied that shooting were not an uncommon thing in their community. This opened my eyes to the privilege I had growing up and made me realize I still had so much to learn. I always say that as much as I hope my students learn from me, I end up learning more from them. I spent many wonderful years teaching the students at Lemelson and becoming a part of their community; there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss them. I have been honored to still be in touch with some of my students and families, and can't wait to see all they accomplish in the future!
I made the tough choice to leave the classroom so I could focus on completing my Doctorate. I graduated with my PhD in Education - emphasis in Literacy Studies, which led me to start my new career in higher education in my new beautiful, new home city - Spokane, WA!
Alejandra & I at 6th grade graduation
(Always watch out for the cake)
Alejandra, Diego, & I at their high school graduation
THE ADVENTURES OF
DR. BEDFORD IN THE INLAND PNW
Meet Snoop Dogg - the robot dog built by students during my dissertation study on the use of robotics to support and develop literacy & language acquisition in language learners.
With my dog & hedgehog in tow, I made the 788 mile drive from my hometown of Reno to the Lilac City. I began my career as an assistant professor, teaching future teachers best practices in literacy instruction. I was so excited to start getting into schools and working with kids again, to share my passion for all things literacy, and even create a new robotics team to participate in First LEGO League. Then came the pandemic...
Let's face it, COVID has flipped our world upside; it has affected so many aspects of our life. Not only has it impacted local economies, identified disparities in access to resources, exhausted our essential workers... (the list can go on), it has drastically changed the field of education. Teachers - from P-12 to higher education - had to alter their approaches to teaching, moving everything online. They had to adapt instruction to support all their students, make accommodations based on access to educational resources, check on students to see how they were doing emotionally and academically, all the while still taking care of themselves and their families. I admire everyone who's still moving forward after this very long year; I especially admire our teachers.
I know what it's like to be in the classroom and I know how hard it is to not be with your students. It's hard to describe the special feeling of being in the classroom, engaging in the learning happening with and from you and the students. That is something I have missed most during the pandemic. I look forward to the day when we all can safely return to campus.
PLANNING FOR OUR FUTURE
As we start to return to some sense of "normalcy", I believe now is the time to start thinking ahead and looking at how we can make education more accessible, equitable, and inclusive.
The pandemic has shown that we need to make sure all students have access to a quality education. This includes providing technology and spaces for students to engage in learning as well as increasing broadband internet access. We also need to make sure that we are supporting students' social and emotional health as they enter back into schools. And most importantly, we need to make sure all our students feel welcomed, safe, and celebrated in the classroom.
This is why I am running for Spokane School Board Director and I would greatly appreciate your vote!