This I Believe

Sara - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on November 27, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference”

Robert Frost

I am a border crosser moving between two very different roads those being clinical practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner and now obtaining my Doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership. According to Critical Borderland Theory, Borderlands reflects those persons caught between two very diverse worlds, caught between two separate cultures, and finally caught between two very different places. It is often used in the study of persons caught between dominant Anglo-American hegemony and their own notion of identity as something other then American be it a Chicano or Asian. However, I am using the term as an analogy to crossing onto the road from clinical Nursing as a discipline into the discipline of Education. It has been an interesting and somewhat difficult transition as I have often lacked the language and experience to participate fully in lengthy discussions revolving around the Primary and Secondary urban schools in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

I believe that I am different, and that is what has guided me on my path to become an

urban educational leader. I am a product of a diverse background. I was raised by two

parents, both educators, and both heavily involved in social justice. I spent my formative

high school years in New Jersey attending integrated public high schools. At that time

my father a Professor at Rider College was intimately involved in desegregating both the

New Jersey and New York public urban school systems. In addition, my father held the

very first desegregation institute for secondary education teachers at Rider College, it was

at this conference that I first heard the explosive Dr. John Henrik Clark speak. Although, it was impossible for me to comprehend his message at the age of fourteen, I knew he had an important message and was intensely passionate regarding the history and identity of African Americans. I often remember our dinner table was a constant dialogue regarding important social issues and there was always an interesting professor included at our dinner table. Thus, the very fiber of our home life was built on the values of respect for all persons and that I had the responsibility of making the world a better place.

Thus, it seemed only natural that my journey would take me on a convoluted road

toward the constructs of nurturing, caring, and compassion and ultimately end in the profession of nursing. I started my career as a second lieutenant overseas in Frankfort, West Germany. It was during my tenure in the Unites States Army that again reinforced my values that equity could be obtained not by the color of one’s skin but rather by the job that one has done. After leaving the military, I settled as a single mother in Los Angeles, California. I would nurse amongst diversity at the largest urban teaching VA hospital inthe United States, Wadswoth VA Medical Center. It was here again, that I was exposed to and worked amongst minorities from African Americans to Hispanic Americans to Asian Americans. I developed a greater appreciation for the multitude of problems facing a very diverse and urban population. I began graduate school at California State University Northridge and subsequently relocated to Cincinnati to finish my graduate degree in Health Care Administration with the help of my extended family and for this I will forever be grateful.

Cincinnati has been the place of much change and many blessings for myself and my

daughter. I have completed two masters degrees in Health Care Administration and

Nursing Administration from the University of Cincinnati. I have completed Post Masters work at Northern Kentucky University and obtained my Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate. I have met and married a wonderful man and now in addition to a daughter, I have two little boys ages five and seven. As my personal life has blossomed, my professional life has blossomed as well. I have continued to gravitate toward the urban venue and have practiced at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and I currently practice at the Veterans Medical Center. I also am a professor of Nursing at Northern Kentucky University on the tenure track and hope to obtain tenure in 2008. Finally, and importantly, I am fulfilling my dream of becoming a urban educational leader and am in my 2nd year in the Urban Educational Leadership program. I hope to follow in the brave foot steps of my father and continue to work toward human rights, social justice and equity for all persons.

This has been my journey. This has been my path. And this is what I bring to my

classroom, a plethora of very personal and unique experiences. I believe it is from these

experiences that I am able to look at the world and view my students through multiple lenses and often see something special in a student be they a child, a veteran patient or a

traditional college student that perhaps another teacher would be blind to. I have taken

the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference in my life. And this, this is

what I believe.