Defining Instructional and Operational Equity for ALL in the AC-Stage of Education

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Lori Gonzalez is the Superintendent of Lamont Elementary School District. Lori’s leadership style prioritizes breaking barriers, valuing diversity, addressing inequities, fostering collaboration, and creating an inclusive educational environment. She is committed to ensuring all learners have access to a diverse range of educational opportunities and experiences, with a focus on equity, student achievement, district-wide improvement, and community engagement. Cultural proficiency and responsiveness are integral aspects of her leadership, promoting student success and employee satisfaction.

Dr. Michael Conner

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. Welcome to another episode of Voices for Excellence. I’m your host, Dr. Michael Conner, CEO and Founder of the Agile Evolutionary Group and proud host of VFE. And today’s guest is all the way out in Southern California. We had to find her all the way on the West Coast, one of the most recognized superintendents in California. And naturally, a dear friend of mine, we were actually talking about the dissertation process, which I so envy, because you know what, Lori? I did it once and I would love to do it again. Just peer to peer fact, I’ve just researched in some of the most important issues in education. And of course, your dissertation and your research is going to be a huge slither in identifying and targeting those strategies to eradicate the equity excellence problems we see in education. But it is great to have Ms. and future Dr. Lori Gonzalez out of the Lamont Elementary School District of California, Superintendent of Schools. Lori, how are you? How’s everything? You surviving the dissertation process?

Lori Gonzalez

I am. Hi, Dr. Conner. I am doing fantastic. You know, LA, my elementary school district is an amazing district. And we’re in the Central Valley, 2 hours south of L.A., excuse me north, north of L.A. So actually not quite southern California, but I get the vibe. I get the vibe. So we’re good.

Dr. Michael Conner

But my apologies because you know what Lori? California is just beautiful to me everywhere. So Southern Northern is central. Listen, I want to be out there. I’m tired right now. It is 29 degrees and there’s snow. So I’ll contrast from where you’re at in central California. But yeah, glad to have you here. Amazing. Amazing. Just to now pick your brain, unwrap your brain specifically around your leadership, the impactful leadership with regards to what you’re doing in Lamont and the other things that you’re engaging in within education. So we’re looking forward to this episode today.

Lori Gonzalez

Me, too. And I appreciate your, you know, your your ask about my dissertation. I am definitely in that thick of it. I am super excited. And I agree with you that this has been a remarkable time. I’m with USC and I’ve learned so much with the research and just to, you know, give you a synopsis, it is focused on Latina superintendents, you know, goes white. But, you know, culturally responsive school leadership, which is something that’s very dear to my heart and what that truly entails as a superintendent. California is the the person that has really brought that framework to life. But I’ve put a little bit of spin on it. Not many people know about the CRC framework, but yet we embody much of it’s a much of that framework within its quadrants. And so that’s what I’m bringing to light with my dissertation. And I’m hoping, yeah, that I can see what it brings out in the future. I’m excited about doing this work, but it’s a lot of work and, and being a superintendent. But I will say that it has been a great time in my career and, you know, just being able to meet people like yourselves and, you know, call you my friend and colleague is is so important. And I think that that’s the biggest part about running any district. Right. As a superintendent is opening yourself up and being vulnerable and, you know, getting that trust, that knowledge base from others because why repeat things that are not been successful? Better to open up and learn and grow and try new things. And so I’m excited for the conversation.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. We are in a can’t wait for your publication of your dissertation because we know your research is going to be a very impactful read within the education ecosystem. And just to contextualize what you stated, the importance of the network effect and being able to have, I like to say, national networks and people that you can lean on and depend on for strategies, ideas And during those times, of course, when you’re a superintendent where you can be able to support each other. So just just, just fascinated by your work and can’t wait to really start unpacking, you know, the core themes around culture, responsive practices and your research, what you’re finding, which is real time research, right? Real time evidence that you are collecting from the field. But this first question, Laura, is such a fun question, really gets to really ask my listeners and my viewers understand who Ms. future Dr. Lori Gonzalez is as a superintendent and a education practitioner in the field. But you are admired by many education stakeholders in California and nationally because of your intentional leadership as a superintendent, underscoring those key elements of culture responsive practices. So one of my listeners who do not know Ms. future, I am going to keep saying that, Dr. Lori Gonzalez in the education ecosystem. What song describes your leadership signature in equity stance for all?

Lori Gonzalez

Wow, that’s interesting. Okay, to sit back on that one a little bit and then see that’s the via AP.

Dr. Michael Conner

First we have our guest sitting back on it, yes.

Lori Gonzalez

So yeah, let me say this. I think I can come up with some science. Let me see. You know, I’ve been I there’s, there’s, there’s one song that it’s really been resonating with me. It’s interesting because you say equity. You know, I was I was brought up in a very humble, humble room, you know, first generation, first generation, you know, Latina, you know, parents immigrate at well, I was born in Mexico, so I myself immigrated here. Right. And so my parents were were strict with me, but in a way to protect me. And so I’ve always been someone when it comes to equity is that my job is to open doors for those and then to help our families understand that, you know, there is there is a fear that it’s okay to be, you know, fearful of certain things, but don’t let fear drive you. Right. And so for me, equity, equity really encompasses that. And so I would say us there’s two songs that come to mind. And the first one is you probably know Luis Fonsi from Despacito, but not just let’s not put you, but but he’s got a song called I Love You That and I Love It says Embrace Life. And I and to me, that’s equity. When you embrace life and you teach others to embrace life, doors open, experiences open. And then there’s this opportunity for more. And so, you know, he says there’s a line in the song that says My life is in blank and open to learning. That’s equity. When you’re able to just say, you know, regardless of what you come with, regardless of what you don’t come, what I’m going to provide and give to you. So that’s one song that kind of comes to mind. The other one is Try Everything by Shakira among Latino. Yes, but you know, why not Shakira, right. But try everything. Yeah. She’s got that song from you know that. Really it is. Try everything. And for me, that’s equity. Because we cannot be afraid of our own limitations when it comes to teaching our students and giving our students what they need to be successful. And I think that a lot of time we’re afraid to do things right. So and that’s an equity, that’s an inequity because we’re afraid of computers or because we’re afraid technology or now here’s we’re afraid of A.I. now we’re not going to try it. No, you got to try everything in that way. It becomes an equitable opportunity for all students to you know, to learn from it. If I’m if I’m someone that’s afraid to do things, then my students will not have that experience. Then when they go out into the world, they’re they’re less than they have, less than the others that that weren’t afraid of that. So I think those are the two songs that really kind of come into my mind right now. The other one would be a poem, and it’s just because it resonates so much with me, which is Tupac’s, you know, Rose from from Concrete, you know, the rose growing from concrete, because I know there’s been songs and mixes, you know, made on that album, but it’s because of that. Like if we nurture someone to that, to that point that they can grow regardless of the circumstances. Wow. Like, wow. You know, and so again, equitable. So for me, equity means giving giving to what our students need. Yeah, be successful regardless of what what our circumstances are. And we’re going to fight for that equity sense. So that would be my my definition embrace life try everything and water that rose because it’s going to grow regardless of where it’s going from.

Dr. Michael Conner

Amazing answer. Amazing answer. I love the two songs and All right, that’s another first for our voices for Excellence. But I really loved how you were cross correlating write the songs and key tenets from each song to really develop this holistic definition of what equity is and can be within our schools. But I love how you say embrace life, right? And we have to be able to create opportunities for our students to be able to embrace life. And we can’t be afraid to attempt new practices, new solutions, new approaches to integrate, let’s say, AI or new methods of instruction that is undergirded with this lens of being culturally responsive and culturally relevant. Since we know that by 2030, an excuse me, 2025, 56% of public education, it will be black or brown within the United States. But that rose from the concrete, right? And when we close our eyes, you know, who is that or who are the roses that are rising from the concrete? Is that 56% that represent public education are black and brown students, where we have to be able to dismantle inequities? Love I say open doors. I don’t even want to mention the name because I know I can’t pronounce it. So I’m going to wait. I’m going to leave that alone. But yes, open doors and don’t let fear dry on. We see a lot of now and I don’t want to characterize this as the the totality of education. Right, Lori? But, you know, we’re seeing elements where leadership are afraid to take those next steps because of governance structures and boards of education communities and their response to whether it be social, emotional learning, cognitive ability, mental health, which has now been polarized and politicized in the education ecosystem. When we talk about the E word, which is the new curse word now for education, equity, Why, why, why, why? Right. So and we’re now seeing leaders that are, you know, fearful of taking those next steps because of the potentiality of losing their job or being in hot water. But again, don’t let fear drive you, because this is how we do it or we do it for our students.

Lori Gonzalez

Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, I see that all the time. You know, fear. Fear is what drove me for many, many years. I mean, I sit here as a Latina superintendent and how few are there of us, you know, in this country. And that’s part of my, you know, that’s my dissertation is focusing on Latina superintendents. And there are so few there are so few. Yet 75%, 75% of the workforce are teaching workforce are women. You know, but from my research, only 2% are Latina superintendents make up about an imbalance there. Right. But I only got here because people believed in me. So I had allyship, I had mentorship, networking, people that believed in me more than I believed in myself because I was allowing fear to stop me. And then once I got in and I realized the the potential that could be that could be done with, you know, with my thought process, with, you know, with me as a superintendent to move that needle for students, because I want students that look like me, know that lived like me or live like I did. Yeah, I grew up in those same circumstances, have these opportunities and so that there can’t be only 2% in 2020, you know, 2030 like there can’t be. And you know, in 2040 only 2% Latina supernovas. That’s very that’s that’s egregious. Yeah. And so, you know, for me, fear is what stopped me. And until I got here that I realize you’re allowing fear to stop you. And that is what is also stopping others. And so I finally and I just woke up one day I don’t even know how it happened, because if you if you knew me way back when I was a shy little girl, that would never do anything without getting permission first, without, you know, making sure that no one was going to I mean, just I still do that, but I do it in a very different manner. And so now I just don’t let fear stop me. I just don’t you know, I still have fear and things, but I you know, I don’t not do things because of fear. And I, you know, going to your point about equity and you know, how difficult it is still to be a superintendent. It is difficult, but my job has never changed. I got here and I as a teacher and I’m still a teacher, my my classroom is now my board, my classroom are now my leadership team. Right. And so when I when I meet with them and when I have conversations with them, it is on these hot topics. It is on these because in the end, we serve one person and that’s our children. Yeah, absolutely the children. And so it is about their future, not ours. On my on my over my shoulder here I have the top ten skills of 2025. When you look at those top, you know, skills of 2025, I have it there to remind me every day that what we do is not about us and what we need right now. It’s what they need going forward. And if we’re not pushing that needle over and providing them what they need, then we are failing right. And what if we’re doing to fear? You know, I’m using AI right now, you know, to look at the coding, you know, And I was scared. I was like, my gosh, how do I do this? Right? But you can’t not do it because you’re afraid to, you know, back in the day, you know, Well, I didn’t you know, I’m not going to use a typewriter because I can get my fingers to do that, I’m afraid. Well, look where we’re at now. So, you know, things evolve and you’ve got to evolve with them. And so, you know, there’s a lot to be said about equity and there’s a lot to be said that, you know, we cannot continue to live in the same world that we grew up in and have those just those inequities that we live through. You know, it’s not fair to our children. I said this the other day where we’re in your 23 of the 21st century, Correct. We’re still dealing with some of the things that I did, you know, back when I was in school. And that’s that’s not okay. We see some of the things, you know, just in the home level that our children are still facing that I did when I was at home. And you’re like, okay, what what are we doing wrong? You know, what is it that we need to fix to be able to move forward? Because ultimately they’re going to our children going be taking care of us. And we you know, we need to be able to do that. So, yeah, there’s there’s there’s a lot to be said that you cannot allow fear to to drive you for sure.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. And I think, you know, we have to specifically in the education and the education space, we have to continue to intentionally interrogate equity when it comes to gender equity, specifically in the executive leadership role to present. Wow. When you hear of that now, Erin, you said it in 2023, we really have to rethink and rethink our trade practices, rethink the ecosystem where that disproportionate rate, where 70% of our teachers that are women that are in the classroom and only 2% have actually moved that trajectory to the executive leadership role, you know, not even looking at it from a statistician or a second attrition lens. That’s a problem. That’s a huge problem. And I’ve been saying this nationally, and it’s quite controversial when I say I’m like, we need to stop hiring women and discriminating against men because we need to actually have those rates, those proportionate rates. With regards to executive leaders that represent women, that represent black and brown, women that represent women in totality. So we keep pushing that needle, especially especially with your research that is about to be published and may hopefully defending a march, as you stated. And we keep pushing the needle on that because that’s one of the areas that I really think we need to really start focusing on in education holistically, even within the economic demand with multiple other industries. But getting into the second question, right, Lori, is there’s this continuous discussion around transformation and reward through structures and systems that parallel parallel readiness for Generation Z. Generation. Alvin, you kind of alluded to an implicit example around the utilization of artificial intelligence, right? We know Gen Z, Gen Alpha, there’s students that have essentially emerging technologies at their hand every single minute of the day, with the exception sometimes when they go into their classrooms, right? That’s where we actually see the destruction and the divide with A.I. into education versus when Gen Z. Janelle They’re living their their natural life and their natural environment with AI and emerging technologies around and all the time. But painstakingly and I want to use that word deliberately, there isn’t a defined blueprint for innovation and excellence, right? Which I think that we see this an industrial model all the time, kind of replication and incremental improvements within the actual industrial model. But from this level of experimentation, right, cause and effect within the traditional realms of education, we see that there are stakeholders, leaders resisting A.I. when now we have to naturally kind of have this synergistic approach of just the implementation, continue, right? But it’s a ness we need is it’s necessary. It’s not a it’s not something that we want is something that we need now, specifically for the students that were educated, how do we shift mindsets? Lori, how do we shift mindsets to the new best of class work culture, education, culture do not do well continuously resist the inevitable, which is innovation, creativity, and now add in those elements of A.I..

Lori Gonzalez

Now, interesting that you use the word culture. That is their culture. Yeah. So when I say culturally responsive, school leadership culture is the students culture, right? And right now technology, A.I. is part of their culture. Just recently I had my first of the year superintendents, the Student Advisory Council, and I had a I on on the agenda. I wanted to know what the kids, you know, what are their thoughts, because student voice is the most important part, right? When you sit in this in this chair, it’s like if they’re the number one person who I serve, I need to hear from them and they they know about it. They’ve heard about it. You know, we’re a rule school district. So there are people that think, you know, you’re in a rural school district in the Central Valley. Kids don’t know. Yes, they do. They’re very well aware of what’s, you know, what’s out there. And I think that, you know, you cannot be innovative and say you’re an innovative district if you’re not encompassing what’s new and out there prevalent. And so, you know, one of the thing that we’ve done in in, you know, under my superintendency is where I’m very, very, very proud of is we have a brand new framework for the future. You know, I got to lament and, you know, we had a mission, a vision and goals that, you know, really weren’t 21st century. And I kept telling our board like, I need goals to be able to move forward. And so we went through a very strategic format with a guiding coalition made up of teachers, classified staff, students, parents, leadership, all of us put together board members involved as well. And we came up with a new vision, a new mission. And you values all of them centered around innovation, equity, community and integrity. And then we ended up with they learned a profile and I learned a profile is to be an empathetic collaborator, an innovative problem solver, a resilient learner, a responsive committee member, and an effective communicator. All of that is based on giving personalized, authentic, equitable and inclusive and competency based instruction, all of which are innovative practices will include what’s Neal these new you know, as a I is one, I think where the failure comes in and is if we don’t give the right direction on how to implement it and show our teachers, give that professional learning of of how to use it and how to implement it. You know, we’ve had conversations here. I have had conversations here with my leadership staff and then, you know, gaining from what I got from, you know, from my students, there’s concern like, you know, some think it’s, as you said earlier, like teachers don’t know how. So they think it’s cheating. Others think it’s you know, it’s something that could be, you know, utilized and implemented. I would be failing my staff if I don’t start providing professional learning on it. I you know, I truly believe that anything that’s out there that’s innovative and is new is going to be scary. But it’s how do you use it? And if you use it for the right purposes, will it be something that’s benefit people? And so, you know, I’ve got, you know, some amazing colleagues that are out there, amazing colleagues that are doing some amazing things that are very much innovative practices. And so I’m leaning on them asking how did you, you know, open up this conversation with your teachers? How are you doing this? You know, And so that’s where I’m, you know, trying that’s my professional learning to be able to put it out there. But then I’m also someone that’s going to dig in and I’m going to listen and I’m going to, you know, take, you know, conference sessions and whatnot. I was just at a conference with my board members and Khan was the you know, Khan Academy, you know, was, you know, the featured speaker. And he talked about how Khan Academy is going, artificial intelligence and what it’s doing. And my board said they’re going like, you know, they were just like, wow. And so we had great conversations. And those are the best moments right there. You know, going back to your previous, you know, comment and you use that time to have those conversations because they’re they’re the ones that, you know, represent their constituents. And I’m going to be asked those questions. So you you’re helping them understand that you can come back here and do the work, you know, within the district. But, I mean, to your point, you cannot call yourself innovative and use old practices, right? You cannot say you’re you know, you’re you’re yeah, you know, you implement the top ten skills for 2025 within your within your structures and your systems in your schools. If you’re not being if you’re not going to open your doors, you know to to these new and innovative practices. And yeah, so I think your systems and your structures need to incorporate innovation but truly understand what innovation means. Ground yourself. For me, it’s it’s really been grounding ourselves on our learning their profile. But then also, you know, on my framework for the future which has by excuse me, four pillars, you know, of how we’re going to get there, you know, and so we’re delving in now as a leadership team is like, how are we going to get to this? What are we going to do? And it’s really focusing on the learner. So the whole learner, you know, you talked about social, emotional, you know, that is just as important as the basics of reading, the basics of math, the basics of writing, which will all come into play, you know, if you have that those right systems and structures. But you got to focus on the whole learner.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. And Lori, well stated. Right? A lot. I like to use the podcast as a mechanism or platform for asynchronous professional learning, as you were just talking about, being able to have that level of direct instruction, but control link the learning in that asynchronous manner really, really into my audience. Really loved how Lori unwrapped the I got this explicit and it was explicit an implicit visualization of a vision of how to lead your stakeholder group, your leadership team, your governance, your Board of education structure, and including your students to one desire outcome, one desired vision. When you talk about mission, vision and goals aligned to the innovation and to the 21st century demands, Wow. And unwrapping that in this professional learning context for each of those stakeholder groups that represent the education ecosystem. But I want to have you go just a little bit further, right, because I think that this is one of the common misnomers, Lori, that we see in education is we have a multitude of definitions of innovation, right? And I feel that when I hear different variations and definitions of innovation, specifically in education, I get that feeling from but by I’ll say about yeah five to about seven years ago when rigor became the academic, I like to say bad or the jargon was that of the of the word rigor. You had about 50 different definitions of rigor where we couldn’t reach to one can find definition for universal coherence. Right. So if you could for my audience and listeners on VFE, can you provide what LaMotte is using as a definition for innovation, specifically embedded within the work, your business model and structural framework?

Lori Gonzalez

I don’t know. That’s going to come out as a complete sentence, but for us, it’s really envisioning a brighter future for our students where they’re there. Learning now is infused with cultural relevance, absolute, absolutely innovative and ideas with the work up to date and important technologies.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely. And learning just foundational learning that all enhances their opportunities going forward and they are able to to come out as these learners that are problem solving, resilient and effective communicators who are going to be contributing to the community in a multifaceted way. And so for me, innovation truly means the opportunity to provide the students what they need. The whole learner. So that also means social, emotional. So it’s I would say an innovation for me is a it’s a complete package or for and by each student. Absolutely. And thank you thank you thank you for include that element or that tenant of culture, responsive practices culture responsive pedagogy culture responsive system, items that are integrated with innovation. It has to. I always like to say that reciprocity between innovation and being culture responsive is that third pillar that you identify within this triangulation learner experience, right? Address in all elements of the whole child. Well-stated. Well-stated. Dr. Gonzalez.

Lori Gonzalez

Well, you have to you know, you have to because, you know, you can’t sit here and say we’re going to promote, you know, and increase, you know, the inequities of, you know, and I spoke specifically about Latino superintendents. But let’s just say in general, black and brown students achieving and in any, you know, realm of profession. Right. And yet not accept who they are that’s culturally, you still have to accept it. And you have to not just accept it, but you have to continue to grow it. You know, you know, I want my my children to be proud of who they are. I’m proud of who I am. And so that’s culturally responsive. But but also culturally responsive means being compassionate, empathetic, you know, to their needs. And so that is huge. That’s a huge component of it. And so that to me is empathy. That is innovative, because when we go into this world that we go that they’re going to go into as they move into this world, they need to be able to pick up on that, that we need to be able to live together in harmony and live together as an acceptance and live together and not sit behind a computer all day long and think that that’s life. It’s not. We still need to engage and interact Well. The only way we can do that is if we’re culturally responsive to each other’s needs, to each other. Yeah. And then accepting and you know. And how do you that you relate to me? You know, I started a mariachi group. We started a folkloric dancing. We have a huge, huge. And mystical families here. And so I wanted to start looking at adding something for the mystical families. We’re just at the same conference and Fresno Unified, my my friend Bob, you know, they hired their Hmong, you know, that is being culturally responsive where you’re still accepting who they are, but moving toward this new these new innovative practices.

Dr. Michael Conner

So absolutely, it’s very important to me, a model, a model to follow, a model to follow Lori and to my listeners and to my audience that is out there. Please. At the end, we’ll get Dr. Lori Gonzalez and we’ll call you that. I might just play the rest of the episode because you know what you’re getting at. You want you defend Lori. And once they say you pass with no modifications or I was the one they had to pass, what might or modifications might have really mean big changes to it. So don’t listen when they say minor modifications is really bigger changes to the code. So but I want you to defend Lori. You are a doctor, okay. All right. So I’ll call you May 9th and say and that’s done in March. March, You are done your gut, Doctor. But then, Lori, when you when you tell my audience I was about to say, please that and we will get Lori’s affirmation email contact, please reach out to her because that definition of being culture responsive. There are a lot of misnomers out there. I think culture response, it practices are in structural or tactical methods of pedagogy, but in reality and being empathetic, understanding your students compassion, recognizing their backgrounds, their cultural backgrounds that they’re bringing into our classrooms, and finding innovative ways to integrate that into our everyday practices. But Lori, we’re going to take a shit break and we’re going to we’re going to talk about governance. Board of Education’s right. And when we talk about collective governance capacity, as you stated that you and your board have went to a conference together, Kohn was presenting the new elements of A.I., which then his product. But now when we talk about collective governance passing, whether it be five, seven or nine rooted in innovation, excellence and equity is more than ever elevating the capacity of your board members, just like you were doing around what that definition of equity is presenting it, introducing them to different A.I. methodologies and emerging technologies that can be able to advance and celebrate learning. But when we talk about building governance and board capital with integrating A.I. for equity and organizational reimagination purposes, how do leaders put a direct emphasis with equalizing AI, innovation, or equity driven environments where now boards are not resisting the new learning, but they’re embracing the new learning to support the superintendent and his or her leadership teams in order to continue this process of reach in or in the stage of education.

Lori Gonzalez

Yeah, that’s that’s an excellent question. And, you know, it’s something I’m I’m actually we’re dealing with right now specifically, you may or may not seem like something as let’s to say as advanced I want to say or as quote unquote out there. You know, as I but I want to talk about are speech and language pathologists that are online. And, you know, being in front of a zoom and as we sit here. Right. Has really changed in the last several years since COVID, right? Absolutely And it has gotten really good components to it, some really bad components to it. And then it’s it’s evolved, right? So you’ve got that trajectory that that’s taken place. Well, with the use of Zoom, so many things took place that people didn’t feel were were good, They were innovative, they were different, they were new, but they didn’t like them. And they want to go back and revert back to the old style. Right. But but circumstances within within just education and of itself have that allowed for things to take place. So in this case, I’m going to talk about speech and language pathologists. This is a national crisis. There are not enough speech and language pathologists. There are not enough institutions that are that actually provide, you know, that as a major. And then those that do have a limited number of students that are that are able to get in because of the amount of work that it takes for, you know, for the professor to oversee it. So it has created a national shortage. So here’s Lamont. And Lamont is not the only district in the nation that is dealing with this, but we don’t have we don’t have enough speech and language pathologists, humans on campus. Right. We don’t have enough humans on campus. So we’ve had to go to this new, innovative approach, not A.I., but we are using it to see, you know, or something else. But, you know, it’s it’s having that speech and language person on Zoom and a lot of people have a lot of heart. A really time with that. My board had a really hard time with it. And so it required a lot of governance training, know, showing them what it looks like opening our doors to parents that that have concerns about it. There are still many that are very upset about it and there are boardrooms that are full of angry, angry people that their children are getting their you know, their speech through through this process is still a human, but it’s you know, it’s through Zoom. But my point to that is we have to be open to new practices. Yeah. To be able to deliver the services that are required. You know, I’m not going to not give the services that are part of this IEP, right. Because I don’t have a person that I can hire here. There aren’t enough. And so through these national crisis situations, things come up, right? Things are evolved, things things are developed. Air is one where using a program where students are able to get reading intervention through an AI program that listens to students read and then it gives them feedback. Amazing. My my board’s only open to it because we piloted it and they saw they saw what that did. And so it goes to show that as a superintendent, I have to teach. I have to work with my board of governance. I have to work with my leadership team to show them, you know, demonstrate, provide opportunity to to view it, provide opportunity to work with that. And then when they see that there’s the positive that comes from it, then we move on, you know, and then implement. And so, you know, to answer your question, it it really is it’s driven by need. Right? And if the need is there, why would you not? And we it it is us who have to adjust ourselves to be able to allow for these new technologies, these new innovative practices to come in and to be part of our systems and structures. Now, I don’t want to ever get to the point and I’m very much I’m a very techie person and I’m very much into the enemy, but I never want to get to the point where we don’t have a human being in front of, you know, in front of our children. I really do believe that we will all ultimately need that. But I’ve also visited other industries and I see how much technologies take over certain capacities within a within a a system and a sector. But they still need that human right. They still need it. But that human knows how to use it. And so it is again, it is our job to be able to provide that and afford that. And so we cannot do without just because, you know, it’s not what we’re used to or because it doesn’t look like what we need it to look like. So I use that as an example only because it’s a real it’s a real true one that I’m dealing with right now. You know, I’ve got some people that are really upset, you know, that we’re using, you know, this online system. And that’s just like a sliver of what, you know, I would do. Right. But yeah, it’s allowed me to learn how to navigate those waters for my governance team, for my administrative team, for my educator team, you know, for my staff, my classified staff team, for my parents, and even for my students, you know, having that conversation with them. You know, I asked one of the questions, I guess it’s like, you know, what do you like it? And I had some say, No, I don’t like it because, you know, I don’t I don’t like the way it writes for you. It doesn’t sound like me Good. The fact that you can recognize that that means that, you know, you’re not going to use it for that reason. Right. And then when you have that occasional teacher that will say, well, I don’t want to use it because the kids will will piece will she? Well, that’s where you create impromptu writing prompts. And if you say, hey, right. And if the kids can’t write like what they’ve been turning in, obviously they’re you know, they’re use it using it in the wrong way. And so it’s building capacity. It’s really building capacity. That’s my job. And so, you know, I think that that’s very important. And to your point, that regardless of what that innovative practice is, you have to you have to build that capacity and teach and and be willing to open doors to it.

Dr. Michael Conner

Really, really like you answer, Lori, because, you know, one thing that I have been saying, both nationally and internationally and this reference in back to my notes from your answer, is this reverting back to the old right? And I’ve been challenging leaders across the country, you know, in the Middle East as well, UAE, is that when you hear somebody or you actually see a practice of going back to the old, we have to be bold enough to challenge those stakeholders, those practitioners to not go back to the old because we know the old did not word in it exacerbated many gaps that we are seeing now that are compounded in education. But specifically, I loved how you define the differences between pedagogy and androgogy right. Androgogy – Adult learning being intentional. You even stated it that year. You’re part of your job is to build capacity, right? And that is exactly what androgogy is in the new practices. I had a great conversation. I was just at a daily event. I was keynoting and Dr. Baron Davis and I, we were talking and we were actually talking about how we can be able to use a AI that we can focus on. We’re shifting teachers or shifting practitioners. We’re now we’re putting in our best practitioners. Where are our students who most need it, have a practitioner every day. This is the fire, the teacher shortage, and then be able to use A.I. in a synchronous asynchronous manner where students could be able to use that on an independent manner. Where now we have this level of equity where our students who most need the practitioners in front of them are there, add those teachers, but also providing equity to the students, where we’re using AI as a tool to be able to deliver instruction as well. Kind of. It was a inverse strategy of trying to be able to defy or really eliminate the teacher shortage or the teacher. Yeah, the teacher shortage that go with an education, but again, you will hear parents, right, who will go back and say, You’re not pulling my kid on in a I, you know, all this time. But well, in reality it’s not going to be a substantial amount of time. It’s how are we able to provide our students who most need that practitioner in front of them to be able to provide that access to them in an equitable manner. Really? Like I you stated that, but I want to reference a quote from one of my professors at Harvard, Kareem Makani. And you stated that before we get to the next question in the quote was a, I won’t replace humans, but a I with humans will replace humans without a I.

Lori Gonzalez

I think. I like that. Yeah, I do like that. And you know, and I have to go back for a second because you said something that really made me think you’re so you know, you said revert back to the old right. I think the old never goes away. Education, unfortunately. Yes. You know, you got you’ve got some structures about education that should have gone a long time ago and we’re still dealing with them. Right. We all know we can go back in history and talk about all of that. But the reality is that there are parts of education that won’t go away, you know, and that they are part of this, the systems and structures, but they’re meant to be there for a reason, because that is part of education. Now, enhancing enhancing your instruction with a I are enhancing your instruction with innovative practices is what is really what’s important. You know, reverting back is one thing moving forward. Yes. Moving that equity to meet that equity because you’re providing, you know, what’s needed. And hey, how many times that, you know, I remember as a first year teacher thinking what I have to teach cardinal directions. I don’t know what’s left, right. I don’t know what East, west, north and south. You know, you imagine now, now you just pull up your phone, you put your you compass on and you know which way you’re going. Right, right, right. That’s enhancing that’s enhancing yourself, you know, with with what you’re doing. So education can definitely be enhanced. There’s nothing there’s something to be said about reverting back. But, you know, because it is about enhancing but also allowing our teachers and educators to provide what’s best and most needed for students. That’s the best part about it, because teaching is hard. Yes, it is. No one taught us how to teach reading and you here. And what’s the biggest area lead reading at? And so if we can help find something that’s going to help and provide that, why, you know why. Why not? So yeah, I love that. And it’s definitely a lot about, you know, working together collaboratively, collaboratively with your staff and with everyone in between to move forward.

Dr. Michael Conner

Yeah, yeah, yeah Now, now getting an obstruction because I want to highlight your instructional expertise. Right. And I’ve been hearing this across the country, even, you know, when Zander, Joe Galvin and I were doing the Course Academy for Leadership and Innovation and one of the consistent problems of practice right now we’re talking on that I hear is around EO learners and the signs of reading. Right. And and I wanted to get your take on this because we know that there are a number of debates regarding the science of reading national recommendations where we’re shifting model, you know, moving from this balance literacy approach to now the structure, literacy approach and education. But again, universally the education leaders and practitioners in California have always stated that there is this issue with the science of reading in ELA, right? That elements of even implementing the science of reading in dual language programs, just from your perspective, right. How are you addressing these issues? Are you seeing these issues and what could be some next steps for support in order in order to leverage equity? If we’re talking about ELL learners or multi language learners or multilingual linguistic learners, I should say, and dual language programs?

Lori Gonzalez

I love that you asked this question. Okay, So many people don’t realize this. So I have a master’s in reading in a reading specialist credential. So I got to an administration in a very roundabout way. I didn’t do the admin credential. I actually passed the test. And so reading is my as they say, I absolutely love the instruction of reading. I also taught free whole language and then whole language. And I was a bilingual teacher. So, I mean, I have a lot here to say, so watch out here. Those beliefs. yeah. So the science of reading, there are elements of the science of reading that I appreciate a appreciate. I think it’s very important that our teachers, anyone that teaches reading, which is all teachers at all grade levels, absolutely understood. And they need to understand that there is there is a process of teaching things. You know, they do know the difference between phonics and opening mic awareness. They need to understand how you know, how to approach the instruction of reading. What I don’t appreciate is the rudimentary format in that they have that they feel that it needs to be done. It’s to me, it’s not structure, it’s rudimentary, it’s it’s too explicit. And the reason why is because it is it is not if in my opinion, it’s not it does not work with ELL learners. It does not work with students that are struggling and reading and it does not also work with students that are multilingual, that are in your dual program because we do not follow that same format. And so you cannot you say you’re a science of reading and only follow that format and then try to implement it with your English learners because they’re not going to learn that way. And this definitely had no learning your dual language because it’s depend on the language, the learning. And so for me, a balance is definitely the way to go. You have to have a little bit of all right. And quite honestly, that’s innovation. You have a little bit of everything to be able to make a program. And so, you know, one of the things that we’re we’re really working on is guided reading, going back to the basics of guided reading in a city together with our and, you know, working with them on the elements of reading but based on their needs, not based on a structured format. Here’s day one, two or three. The you know, the the other component to that is with our dual learners, their their reading instruction looks very different than our, you know, non dual classrooms. And so a lot of it has to do with how you structure your dual classrooms. And I you know, we’re at that point right now that we really need it to ground ourselves, right. With our enabling conditions, which were our mission, vision and values. And then we had to ground ourselves on what is a the learner outcomes that we want. And now we’re looking at those conditions of what is it that how we’re going to teach it. You know, if we’re saying we’re going to be personally, we’re saying we’re going to be authentic, innovative and inequitable and and competency based, what does that look like? So we’re starting to work on that, where we’re going to start providing, you know, basic how how do you teach reading? How do you teach writing? Yeah, but do it in such a way that that is not day to day scope and sequence to out. It’s based on the needs of the student and its ever evolving. To me, that’s, that’s where it really to go to. And you’ll pull some of the elements like I said I appreciate some of the elements of science in reading because our kids are going to need certain, you know, things. How do you teach them that? And then you learn it. So it’s a good capacity builder for teachers. Yeah. And I will say in my previous district, I did take I did take my, my, my teaching staff through that process of how to teaching them what those fundamentals were, because my teachers outright told me, don’t know, like how to teach this, you know, how do we our kids are so behind, How do you teach that? And then when you evaluated what they’re getting at the universities, they didn’t get, they, you know, so they didn’t have the fundamentals that I did learn, you know, getting my master’s degree in reading. So but not everyone’s going to get a master’s in reading, right? There’s this new funding out of California to have reading specialist. Well, first you got to build them. You got to, you know, build the capacity because you don’t have enough. We need specialists because, you know, people just don’t go into that realm. They’re going to go into administration. They’re going to go in this realm. So I just happen to go in that realm. And the reason why I chose to do that is because I wanted to become a better reading teacher, but it allowed me to learn the basics, which is what I call those structured basics of science, of reading, but also taught me the appreciation of literature and the appreciation of narrative and appreciate that, you know, fiction and nonfiction, and then also of how to guide students to utilize what they’ve learned in their reading and in their writing. And to me, that’s what’s balance comes in. And so my goal is to take our step in that direction and to really understand how to do those basics, but then also with our learner profile, you know, I’m going to build in opportunities for them to utilize reading, writing and mathematics in these innovative, you know, community based, culturally based, you know, opportunities that we that we’re going to provide in experiences. So if it’s learning from our community garden, they’re talking about it, they’re reading about it. You know, I’ll give you an example. They built the the 3D garden, they put the flower beds in and somebody made a comment that the kids put them in backwards and I and my comment was, did you give them the the instructions to read before? Because like, that’s your reading right there. And I liked how we did it. We were talking about it. I’m like, no, you know, And so teaching our teachers, when those opportunities come into play, right. I okay, you’re going to use well, let’s let’s read the directions first. How does it work instead of just digging in, right? So those are your needs to read and teach to read. So yeah, that’s that’s a great question. So but I understand the why people go to the science of reading. And I think it’s it’s unfortunate. You know, our schools are full of students. They can’t read at grade level. Right. Right. But that’s also based on an assessment. Right. How about what about what’s when they’re out there, are they can they read the science? You know, can they and they put together, you know, a flower bed. Can they read and understand how to do that? Can mathematically figure out that they need a two by four that is three feet long, you know, not a six foot. You know, Did they figure that out by reading? Yeah. You know, you know, were they able to to speak about their book, you know, with a green screen behind them and provide a book to write to me is is real authentic reading. Yeah. Authentic math experiences. So, yeah, that’s kind of where that’s where I live. So I, I read that we like that way and it’s kind of what, you know, their structure. Yeah. Like in their structure A to system that had always be structured right based on the needs of the students. So like I said earlier, I love systems and structures, but I also like to break them down based on the student need. And so in the end, that’s what’s going to guide you. And again, being open to the endless possibilities that are out there.

Dr. Michael Conner

Yeah, and Lori, I’ll tell you, breaking those historical legacy structures and systems, that’s being intentional. Yeah, bold and unapologetic. The name of my book, but I find it so compelling, Laurie, that, you know, universally I’ve been hearing that problem practice and knowing your background, knowing your structure over pedagogical hours, specifically around literacy. I really wanted to guess our asses question for you to answer, because we do have a strong, a strong base that listens to our our, our, our view. The are voices for excellence and really want these type of questions asked. Right. And thank you for your perspective on that because again, I think that this is going to be a continuous investigation should write continuous research or or kind of or be a great case study on what are going to be those adaptations. Right. You already talked about, you know, extracting different elements of that science of reading theory put in practice about multi linguistic learners. The language programs else do this, all of that. So I’m really, really going to be it’s definitely going to be a compelling investigation as we continue to unwrap this and see what the true impact around equity for. All right. Not just the level of implementation and ensuring that, you know, these core programs or at least core practices are being implemented to a level of fidelity and integrity, but also looking at it from what is going to be the influence impact long term with our with our students, with this radical change of ship that we’re seeing in literacy instruction. But want to get back to what I stated at the outset. Right. Where are our student demographics and public education? 54% by 2025 will be black and brown. Right? So with this grounded notion around equitable systems and solution, specifically around ELL students, multi linguistic learners and de language programs, how do we ensure that they’re protected? Right? And what recommendations or what advice would you provide leaders with allocating for equity? Since federal federal funding by Esser is going to end at the conclusion of the 2324 academic year, how do we ensure that these programs are protected?

Lori Gonzalez

Yeah. So one of my my go to comments is always show me your checkbook and I’ll tell you what, you know, I’ll tell you what you’re you know, you tell me what you’re spending on, right? And it’ll tell me you’re ill. Tell me what you’re doing. Yeah, it’s the same thing, you know. And you know, with what you do here, it’s by looking at your budget. It tells you where your priorities are, you know, And you know it. And for me, students, students are first and foremost. And I say today’s dollars are for today’s kids. That’s in dreamland and their needs. And so how are they? How are black and brown kids going to be in the forefront by student voice, student voice, and then interacting also with with all your constituents? You have you your educational partners, you have your your teachers, your staff. Obviously, we have our families, our parents, and you have your community. And, you know, but by always engaging them and knowing what their needs are, to me, the healthcare process is so incredibly important here because it does you know, some people don’t like the idea that, you know, you’re having these means and opening it up. I love it. You know, last year when I got here, I opened it up. Okay. Tell me, you know, what are the needs? What are your desires? What do you want for your children here? I came up with 18 overarching themes that, you know, people kept, you know, kind of did my own coding. Right. And after everything that they said, you know, I coded it and came up with eight overarching things. Well, would you look at those things? It’s all about student success. So you’ve got to look at how are you spending your money to ensure that the students are getting what they need? You know, these are money I got to lament. So a lot of them were already spent on my previous district, You know, depends on the kind of district you’re at, you know, rural school districts where we’re don’t get the same funding that these urban districts yet we have the same needs our kids have the same desires and wants as urban districts. But it’s all based on per capita, right. How many students do you have? So the reality is that you have to spend them accordingly. One with Esser money. You you buy things you have to sometimes put on the back burner. You know, you have your your H-E-B, you have your plumbing, you know, you have, you know, whatever it is that a lot of the money, honestly, for me. Well, you know, with the filters system that we needed with because of the COVID situation. Yeah. But then you do modernizations, you know, with some of this money, too, that you want your kids to get, but you don’t have the money freely to be able to spend it on these things. So like in my case, it’s our our libraries, you know, our libraries need updating. So that’s one of the things that our kids ask. And we have libraries that are more up to date with new material. Yes. What’s happening in Lamont? In Lamont by in February, excuse me, by the spring, we’ll have all libraries will be updated, 21st century libraries. And you’re right that that’s innovation right there. When you bring new books to our kids and when our kids say they want to read and they want books, Hello, you go buy books? Absolutely. Of course you buy books that were written by black, black and Hispanic authors, but also have black, Hispanic, you know, children, but also every other culture, because we need to live in harmony. And I keep saying that like to me, you know, that my hashtag is lead with heart. You cannot lead with heart if you only like a certain kind of people are only like, you know, one a certain kind of people to succeed. No, it’s about every one. And learning how to live in that environment when we all love each other and so and have compassion and empathy for each other. And so listening to the needs is how I, you know, guide myself. And that’s also listening to the needs of, you know, of my my administrators. What what do you need to help make you more successful with your team at your site? You know, that’s one of the things I tell my principals all the time. Go back to your sites. What are they telling you? What are teachers saying they need? And so they’ll they create proposals. And then we you know, we look at that, you know, what are the things when we said that we want empathetic collaborate and that was our first profile aspect that that we’re working on. And one of my principals came up to me and said, Mr. Gonzalez, my staff said, if we want empathetic collaborators, then we need flexible city. Okay, let’s look at that. And so where does the money going to go to Flexible City? I can’t say do this without that. And so, you know, you have to be able to do that. And I guess, you know, to your point, any funding, regardless whether it’s one time or it’s a consistent you go by what the law says, if it’s for else use it on else if it’s you know, for homeless, use it on homeless. If it’s SRO that’s used, you know, to do any, you know, change in impact and improve things And that’s what you use it for. But you use it on the students and what and what they’re asking for. And again, show me your checkbook and I’ll tell you what you’re spending your money on until your equities are. So you can look at my checkbook here, you know, and look at our, you know, our budget here. And you’re going to see that, you know, if if you spend between 70 or 80% on your staff and benefits. Yeah. You know, you’re running a pretty solid organization and you’re spending a little bit more than that. You know, you got to look at that, you know, heavier on one side and the other are too low on one side. Right? And then you in and then you go from there and you you know, you establish your your budget for us here, too. You know, we’ve got some old buildings that need work on. So modernization, we’ve been doing some modernization here. And one other thing here that was prevalent when I got here was safety. So we’re enhancing our safety district wide. So I would say to your question, that student voice, educational partner voice, has to be your guide in how you spend.

Dr. Michael Conner

Well, state it right agency. All right. Student voice is is so critical now. And, you know, when I look at the key characteristics and attributes, Generation Z generation pull up one of the common attributes for both of these two generations is that they want relevancy over compliance. Right. And if you think about the original design, the education model, it is designed for compliance because there’s a regurgitation of skills and information that translate into some that assessment where, you know, we get these rankings right, Your school is great. Your school is not based off of percentiles, but bringing that relevancy aspect of it is including the voice of the students and designing towards the voice of our our our most important customers, parents and students. You have articulated in this really meticulous manner the first element of design thinking, empathy, right? When we when you think about the business sector or any other industry thread design thinking, understanding the need and the wants of the customer, the voice of the customer, that’s empathy. We need to find creative and new ways to have this a sustainable practice in education, listening to the voice of our students and our families. But last question will are you made it, man, I tell you, is…

Lori Gonzalez

One of the inner self there. I would say, you know, honestly, Michael, you have to put yourself out there because as a superintendent, you can sit behind your door all day long school, you can’t. So visiting schools, you know, being out there for parents, creating opportunities, that’s the things sometimes you just have to create the opportunities. My superintendent to an advisory council is an opportunity. I have my superintendent coffee with a superintendent where I bring both families and community out that that’s an opportunity. I’m on the corner, I’m on the you know, I’m on the chamber, you know, I’m on the Lions Club. I do that because that’s how you engage with the community. And again, I go back to my culture. You responsive school leadership framework, my colleagues here, it’s a four quadrants, right? And one of the tenants is Community one, and it’s also pedagogy. It’s what are we teaching our teachers right. But one of the turns is community. And if you’re engaging with your community, you really get to know their wants and desires. And and so, you know, to your point that yeah that’s how you become empathetic you know you by being you know, understanding their wants, their needs and their desires and their fears. Right. Absolutely. I said it myself. Don’t let fear stop you, but if you know what the fears are, then you attack those fears to stop it, you know, so that they can really feel like they can be part of it.

Dr. Michael Conner

Excellent. I tell you, Lori, your your answers are want me to jump back in the superintendency. But I must say, no, right now. I’m having much fun doing all this work. I miss it there, but I think I’m at a way too much doing all of this, being able to bring different content like this professional learning cards and to leaders across the country. But last question and I tell my guests to take this question as is because I try to limit all VFE participants and guests to about three words. It never happens. And when we talk about innovation, right, it’s three and whatever it is. So I always tell every guest or I always say that every guest should take it as it is. Right. But what three words do you want listeners and viewers of VFE to leave our podcast with regarding a working definition of excellence for all? What three words will define this statement in their daily practices to transform organizational and classroom pedagogy for all? Three words.

Lori Gonzalez

All learner focused, inclusive and culturally responsive.

Dr. Michael Conner

Elaborate, please.

Lori Gonzalez

You’re– my– for culturally responsive?

Dr. Michael Conner

All of them. I want my learners looking– for all of them. I’m contradicting my old questions. I love it. I love it. Okay, so they got I know I said three words, Lori, but so powerful, all learner focused, inclusive and culturally responsive. Please, just elaborate on each of those.

Lori Gonzalez

Yeah. I had to really reach in there too. Like I was struggling here. Okay, so all in all, learner focus means you are really truly looking at the entire child, right? Focus from instruction, you know, to mental health. Yeah. You’re social, emotional, you’ve got and medical like, you know, you’re looking at every aspect of the child. So what do they need to grow academically? Outcomes. What do they need to to feel like that they are part of this system that we call our learning ecosystem, right? You know, how do they feel safe and included in that? And then also how do they feel healthy in that? So that’s to me the all learner focus, and that’s one thing that element that I am so incredibly proud to lead this district in in that is that we provide all of that you know and some of these things I inherited and some of these things I’ve helped in, we, you know, rushed it around and made it even stronger and better. And so that’s the whole learner focus that I’m going to add a piece to it that I don’t know of. Many people will add to it, but we’ve had a lot of money coming in from the California community schools. But it’s our parents, right? Having our parents part of that because our whole to be a whole learner focused, you also got to help our parents be stronger at meeting their children at home, like helping their children at home, making them, you know, even better, you know, educated to to know what’s coming. And so that to me is a whole learner focus. It’s like the student academic outcomes, like I said, mental health, healthy, you know, just being healthy itself and then parent learning, that’s all of that inclusive together opportunities and inclusive. I mean, I’m to take every kid, I don’t care who you are, what you look like, what you have, what you do not if you are not inclusive, and if you are telling me that you can’t watch out because I’m gonna come after you, because I am all about every kid has that opportunity. Because I was that kid one time where I was told no. I was that kid who had a gatekeeper that said, Why am I not? Is not going to happen under my watch? You are going to open your door. And regardless of how hard it is to educate that child, you’re going to do your darndest to do it. So to me, that inclusivity regardless of who you are, where you’re at, what you need, and then culturally responsive because you know, gosh darn, you know that that’s me. Courtney Response beans. You know, that to me is where equity comes in. Absolute passion comes in, empathy comes in, the personalization comes in. You know, intake comes in, bringing in innovative practices comes in, but also still relishes in what those basics have. You know, that that are important to that person. So again, being responsive to the cultural needs of that child and and re-ask that it’s almost like the whole learner comes right back in. But it’s it’s their culture. It’s who they are, their insides. It doesn’t matter what they look like. Does it matter what black? Brown, green, purple. It doesn’t matter. Who are they that you’re being responsive to? And to me, to be responsive really, truly means the compassionate, personalized, equitable. And you’re willing to break any barrier there is to make sure that you’re being responsive to their needs. So those are my three.

Dr. Michael Conner

Absolutely all learner focused, inclusive and culturally responsive. Lori, this has been or I should say, Dr. Gonzalez. Yes. We want to listen. We’re going to appreciate that– look what I’m going to manifest it. So this has been an absolutely extraordinary episode. And to my audience, my listeners and, viewers out there, this is an episode that you should play probably 2 to 3 times to ensure you’re doing a cross-walk alignment with your individual practices and the new concepts that Lori has presented today. Lori, If anybody wants to get in touch with you to talk about governance, capacity, professional learning, science of reading, or go deeper with regards to literacy pedagogy, programing, how would they be able to get in contact with you?

Lori Gonzalez

Yeah, well, I’ve got social media presence, although let me tell you, this dissertation has slowed me down a bit, I’m like behind a couple weeks. I’m not kidding. I’m not going to lie like, it’s been it’s been not been doing it as much as as I have, you know, had been. But it’s just because I’ve been busy. But it’s a good break. But my social media, I am @LoriGonzalezEdu is my Twitter handle. I’m also on LinkedIn. And then I do have both Facebook and Instagram that are more of my professional, I keep my personal, personal. But you know, as a professional. But I would say both LinkedIn and Twitter are really where I post a lot. So you can definitely DM me that way. Obviously you can find me on the Lamont elementary school district website and my email’s there, you know, I’ll reach back. I’m Neal USC So you know I, I’m definitely involved with the USC as much as I can. So if you see me at any anything like that, I am so open to talk to anyone. You know, I will tell you that I had beautiful mentors I still had beautiful mentors. I mean, they’re just beautiful people who believed in me. And and, you know, going back to that 2% earlier, you know, most of my mentors were male, you know, who believed in me. And I am where I am. And, you know, I’m not discounting anyone of them, you know, And it’s not about pushing anyone out so that you can get more of us. And it’s just opening doors. And one of the biggest things that we need to recognize that it’s about opening doors for each other. And so I am there for anyone that that does, you know, does or would like to have a conversation with me. You know, I do love mentoring I do love, you know, that capacity of building others. And and I hope I do more of that once I am done with this work here at USC, because I truly believe that, you know, I, I have I have much to share because of both the the wins and the losses, you know, that have taken place. But there are good wins and losses because you learn from them and you grow from them. And, you know, I don’t know if you want to qualify them as wins and losses but more like grows and won’t. Yeah I mean the but anyhow yeah any but those definitely there and then you have my my email you know is an easy way but yeah follow me follow me on social media and I promise to get back up on that and get some more. I will definitely post you on there and this podcast because this has been fun, this has been amazing. I loved your questions and I, I just,I love being challenged in my thought. And then you get clarity because it just drives you a little bit more.

Dr. Michael Conner

Well, thank you for being on VFE this episode. I tell you, you know, University of Southern California, one of the top education and research hubs, I like to say. And the. Yes, right in the country, Trojans. Right. And it’s led by one of the most revered education researchers, anthropologist in the country, Dr. Pedro Noguera, and also your work that you’re doing and Lamont, thank you for trying to reach every single student into my audience out there. Please reach out to her to Lori, because when you when you hear her say, I want to reach every single student, she means, that. It’s not your company tagline, but it’s really ingrained in her or embedded in her heart and embedded in her practices as well. So Lori, that you for being on VFE, good luck to you next time I talk to you, Dr. Gonzalez.

Lori Gonzalez

Thank you so much, Michael. This has been a pleasure. It’s been so fun. You know, I take this role so seriously because there are so few superintendents in this nation, as you know. And it’s a big task that we have ahead of us, you know, educating our our the babies of tomorrow. And there’s a big world out there for each one of them. And so, yeah, thank you so much. This has been a pleasure, it’s been so much fun and fight on.

Dr. Michael Conner

There you go. And on that note, onward and upward everybody. Have a great evening.