Mentors

Caitlin

caitlin1I’m originally from Bloomington, Indiana, and moved to Austin in the fall of 2003. I earned a BA in Women’s Studies from Earlham College, a Quaker liberal arts school. At Earlham I experienced student-led learning, living in community, and working through conflict peacefully, which are three important elements that guide my teaching today. My mentoring style is shaped by my work at summer camps, after-school programs, and experiential education centers, where it was clear to me that relaxed and happy kids enjoy learning.

In an effort to transform the regular classroom with that understanding, I got my teaching certification through the University of Texas in 2008. I student taught and substituted in East Side AISD schools, and taught 1st and 2nd grades at the Austin Discovery School. In seeking inspiration for my teaching, I stumbled upon Chris Mercogliano’s Making It Up As We Go Along, and began hungrily learning about other progressive educational environments. I was also introduced to Paula Estes who ran The Living School, a learner-centered hands-on homeschool. These influences and Paula’s mentorship allowed me to see that working within the bureaucracy of the public system prevented the kind of teaching and learning I believe in. So in the fall of 2010 I founded the 9th Street Schoolhouse. After 4 years, our alternative learning community grew out of my home on 9th Street, and is now known as the Radicle Roots Community Schoolhouse.

I am grateful that in this independent setting, I am able to have real relationships with youth and their families, to work with passionate and talented people to design experiential learning opportunities, and to guide children in developing self-knowledge and emotional intelligence. It is deeply satisfying to help a young person tune into their innate love of learning and really engage with what sparks their interest in an authentic way.

I enjoy volunteering at our neighborhood garden, loving on my two cats, exploring swimming holes and natural areas in central Texas, and sharing good food and bike rides with friends. My partner Nathan Wilkes and I are kept busy by our son, Stuart, born October 2014!

Gaby

Hola, my name is Gabriela Rodriguez and I was born in Arica, Chile.  I left Arica in the year 2000 and began a journey of knowledge and self-awareness. I studied theatre, dance, health coaching, prenatal yoga, which all led me to become a Doula.  I also completed a post graduate degree in music therapy, body awareness and Psychology.

I began my teaching journey with neighborhood children’s classes when I was 14 years old.  From that time on I have been involved in diverse forms of teaching: Spanish tutoring, integrative after school programs, child care, Montessori substitute teaching, as a Baha’í children’s class coordinator, and as a health coach.

My interest in teaching children grows every day, and my hope is to contribute to their future and to help coach them reach their brightest potential. I strive to serve humanity and to create a better world by walking my path and taking actions. I enjoy this chance of learning by doing, by making mistakes and growing from them. I challenge myself by keeping a humble and positive attitude in front of our children, especially because I will never stop learning from them.  They are the most sincere mirror I have ever had, and I feel pretty grateful for that.

When I’m not at the schoolhouse, usually you will find me spending time with my family, Elijah (my husband) and my kids, Aayan and Amaya.  We like to spend time in the woods, camping, walking, exploring… Or with friends, sharing a delicious meal, talking or playing games. I personally love to dance (I feel that when the body dances, the mind rests).  I also enjoy spending time alone admiring nature. I like keeping myself connected with my friends from all over the world, and I feel pretty grateful for technology that helps me to keep them close to my heart every day. I also love to talk to my mom, brother and my little nephews in Chile.

 

Aaron

Growing up I loved to draw and was obsessed with whales. My mother was an artist and used to invite kids in the neighborhood over for craft workshops held in our living room. It was an alternative contrasted by the art education I was receiving in school that led me down a new path of thinking about learning. Around the age of 16, I began to get interested in activism and working with art as a tool to impact my community. I worked with various grassroots collectives around Houston and San Antonio before moving to Austin in 2008.

I am a 10-year practicing community artist, organizer, and educator who is currently based in Austin, TX. I work to connect and engage my local community through a multitude of art and education initiatives — collectives, cooperatives, and community organizations that focus on social, economic, and environmental justice.

I have taught through a variety of after-school programs, summer camps, and public school programs, developing curriculum based on the groups individual and collective identity. I want people to have the skills to be lifelong learners. I believe in creativity, taking risks, standing up for what you believe in, and the power of questioning. I recognize that I am also a learner within the community and look forward to every opportunity I have to learn something new and grow as a teacher.

He has received a BFA in Studio Art at the University of Texas in Austin in 2012 and received his MFA in Community Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD.

Alia

I grew up in Columbia, Missouri, a small mid-western college town. My family was part of the Middle Eastern and North African immigrant community of Missouri. My family practiced shia Islam. As an adult I still practice but in my own way. I am the third of four children raised by an amazing mom. As we grew up we watched her get her bachelor’s, master’s, and PHD while working a full-time job. I owe my strong work ethic to her.

I received my BA in French language from the University of Missouri in 2010. I had the wonderful opportunity to live in Lyon, France studying gastronomy and the French identity. Ask me about French cheese, and I can go on forever. After returning to the states I began working at Columbia Montessori School. It was a transformative experience that changed my whole view of education. I received my Montessori certification in 2013 and started exploring other non-traditional education to try and better serve my students.

Social justice as an important part of my mentoring practice. Helping my young friends explore their identities and have courageous conversations brings me great joy. I’ve lived in Austin for the past two years with my gray tabby named Ibn Battuta. Before coming to Radicle Roots I was a lead guide at Magnolia Montessori for All where I learned so much about implementing non-traditonal education in the public sector. I love being outdoors, cooking lavish meals for those I love, and working with my hands doing anything from gardening, to sewing, to painting.

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