Report date
July 2021
Learning Log

This journey started more than two years ago. Start by applying more than one time and being ready when you are ready. Someone once told me that rejection i- God’s protection. When I was awarded the fellowship two years ago I was ready. I was ready to receive and to stop everything I was doing.
Little that I knew, the world was going to stop with me. My fellowship started in the summer of 2019. I started to prepare to leave my position at El Colegio High School for the last nine years. I had been accepted at the Principals Academy at Teachers College at Columbia University. I had two options: to go to live in New York City for six weeks during the summer or to go to New Orleans and be at Loyola University School of Law for the next six weeks. Same program, different locations.
I chose to go to NOLA for various reasons. I have never lived in the South, I know it was going to be a different experience and most of the cohort were going to be leaders of color. I was really looking forward to learning and having conversations about education in our own communities. In Minnesota, there are not that many opportunities, when we are alone discussing our own education problems and solutions.
I left my job on January 31, 2020, and left Minnesota around the 20th of February. The plan was to be in Mexico for the next 16 months. My son would attend the same middle school that my aunts, sisters, brother, nieces, and nephews had attended in the last 75 years. I had a little apartment above the family business, lived next to my sisters, I was going to be among family. I had not lived in Mexico in the last twenty years. I wanted to spend time with my parents and for my son to see where I came from.
And a couple of weeks after my arrival, the world stopped and life became surreal. The pandemic had started and the world was in chaos. In Mexico, I did not live in the city. It is a small town and we had lots of space. My sister lived on one end of the property and I lived on the other. We spend lots of time together.
Then George Floyd got killed. I was avoiding watching the video. I wanted to not think about it and then a Facebook post told me that I knew Mr. Floyd! He was a friend of the community, we knew who he was. It happened outside of Cup Foods! My friends and family were hurting already from the pandemic and now this! The guilt was beyond what I can describe. There was not a moment that I felt guilty for not being able to help, give hugs and just be there.
If there was a time to do the fellowship this was the time. I went to the school when literally the world was on fire. I remember that a week before Columbia started I wrote to my professor that she was not going to get the paper that was due because my Minneapolis family needed me. And that is how I started school.
We had been told a couple of months earlier that school would be in zoom. From 8:00 to 5:00 we had classes and then we had homework until midnight. Every day for about six weeks. After fifteen years of being out of college with no internet, now I was getting a master's degree and all my classes via zoom. I am the oldest person in my cohort and the only one with nine years of experience running a school. There are people in my cohort that are literally half my age. When I think back, I realized that it was quite brave of me to go there. I also believe that it was the best decision I made about how to spend the funds given to me by the Bush Foundation.
Every time I thought I had learned something my classmates stepped up and challenged each other intellectually, with higher expectations and grace.
What I am surprised about this Fellowship is how much you can learn about yourself if you allow the time to actually do it. To keep working on your entire self, body, mind, and soul. I have lost about 33 pounds so far, and I will keep going. My health was horrible when I started and now my health is much better.
What do I wish I would have known when you started? Nothing would have prepared me for what was coming. What helped me the most was to spend the money with 6Seconds and the coaches that have guided me to find compassion for myself.