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S2/E19: Grow Your Own Programs for Bilingual Teachers with Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel

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What are “Grow Your Own” (GYO) teacher programs and how are they being deployed to address the bilingual teacher shortage? What can we learn about these programs from those who have experience implementing them? What supports do GYO teacher candidates and schools need to help them thrive? We discuss these topics and much more with Amaya Garcia and Alexandra Manuel.

Amaya Garcia is deputy director for English learner education with the Education Policy program at New America. She provides research and analysis on policies and programs related to dual language education, bilingual teacher preparation and career pathways, bilingual education, English language proficiency and early education. Prior to joining New America, Garcia was a policy analyst at the DC State Board of Education and a research associate at the American Institutes of Research. Previously she worked in a variety of research labs conducting studies on topics including school finance, reading comprehension, infant learning and memory and early language development. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland-College Park, a master’s degree in cognitive studies in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Iowa.

Alexandra (“Alex”) Manuel has been the executive director for the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) and the first in the nation, WA State Paraeducator Board since February, 2018. Prior to her new role, she served as PESB’s Deputy Director and previously the Director of Educator Pathways. Her experience as a strategic leader has focused on education policy that expanded access to educator preparation and advancing equity to support student success. Over the last several years she has focused on addressing educator shortage and educator diversity in the workforce. Her experience includes resource development, government relations, community engagement, policy development, system change, capacity building and immigrant integration. Alex is focused on providing greater access to the educator workforce by lifting up community assets including language and culture.

Alex brings skills as a strategic leader in systems integration and strategic planning, community engagement and change management from her employment and consulting experience in both private and public organizations including Highline College, Seattle University, City of Auburn, the YMCA, City of Seattle, and University of Washington. Alex earned her Bachelor’s degree at George Mason University in Organizational Development and Social Change and her Masters degree in Education from Seattle University.

During our conversation, we referenced the following books and resources: