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"THE TEACHER IS OF COURSE AN ARTIST, BUT BEING AN ARTIST DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE OR SHE CAN MAKE THE PROFILE, CAN SHAPE THE STUDENTS. WHAT THE EDUCATOR DOES IN TEACHING IS TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR THE STUDENTS TO BECOME THEMSELVES." - PAULO FRIERE
Below are testimonials from my relations in our Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) Collective, some of the amazing teachers I have been able to guide and be guided by, and my last group of elementary students (some of my greatest teachers).
I value feedback from those most closely tied to my direct work for they recognize and challenge the authentic Riss.
In the beginning, we all wondered why we had such a strict teacher. As the year went by how you wanted us to be young adults that could be respectful and to be responsible. Being in your class was the best thing because we learned how to be a family. We all had our ups and downs, but you taught us to go through them. That's why we are grateful to have a strict teacher cause you wanted the best for us. We loved having you as a teacher. To a special teacher, thank you for all the knowledge you have given us. -Members of The Sublime 6th Grade Class circa 2014
I truly feel blessed to have met Marissa along my career journey, as someone who aspires to be a teacher one day she was a great mentor to me who always brought such a humanizing approach to this work. She has such an amazing ability to create spaces that foster vulnerability and growth. In all the trainings I've done with her she always made me feel welcome and comfortable to share my thoughts. As a Black woman I can't even begin to emphasize how important this is. I credit these spaces to so much of my growth. I feel much more confident to show up as my full self, feel grounded in my ability to advocate for my students and have learned a plethora of culturally responsive teaching that humanizes our students and benefits them in so many ways that extend more than just the classroom. Marissa is a powerhouse and a fierce Black woman that I will always look up to -Anisa, Middle School Teacher
There has been soooooooo much that you have done for me and I want to say that I am sad that you are leaving, but I know that you have to do what is best for you! I remember before I started with Catalyst, I was losing my mind thinking how am I going to work my way through the curriculum and you were there to support me one-on-one. You said I could come to Oak Knoll and you gave up your time to help answer all my questions, provided me with materials to foster my learning, and teach me the little tricks to grab classroom attention. Basically, what am I going to do without you! You have also been my emotional support and have always validated my experiences and have helped me process my thoughts and feelings. I have learned a lot from you and hope to continue to learn more (you can't get rid of me lol). You are the best Mentor!!!!! -Hanna, Elementary Teacher
I am forever thankful for having the opportunity to have the chance to meet you, share space and community in this lifetime. You inspired me and provide the model to be true and unapologetically myself regardless of where I am. And I carry that knowledge, and that permission to be into all spaces in order to continue passing on that message, and that will forever be part of YOUR legacy. -Mari - JEDI and Aspiring Librarian
You are such a bright, loving, fierce and passionate person! I am so grateful to have crossed paths in Solidarity Library and have the opportunity to get to know you. Thank you for the authentic ways you show up for yourself and your community each and every day. Your work on educating Marissa and work at Seneca has been so inspiring. I am so happy that you are doing what's best for YOU and putting that at the forefront. You deserve to be loved, valued and supported in the invaluable work your provide in every space. I already know that no matter what the next thing is, you are going to excel and touch the lives of so many. Raylene - Kickass Money Coach @latinastalkdinero, Non-profit Program & Projects Manager
You inspire me. I strive to live life freely and boldly and unapologetically like you do. I hold your vision of Decolonizing Dreaming Dismantling Designing in my heart and in the center of everything I do. You are a JEDI master, a warrior, a boss-ass abolitionist, a healer, a weaver, a seer and doer... Sulynn - DEI Coordinator, Mental Health Counselor & Educator
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