M.A. Emancipatory K-12 School Leadership Graduates Continue to PhD Programs

Cheralen Valdez and Anthony Rodgers are M.A. Emancipatory K-12 Leadership graduates. They both spoke to us about their educational journey and their passion for implementing social justice and equity in education. 

cheralen smiling.

Cheralen Valdez – 23′ M.A. Emancipatory K-12 Leadership

Cheralen Valdez reflects on her intentions as an educator, her purpose and goal in the classroom. Cheralen hopes to make an impact within the field of Early Childhood Education (ECE). “Such impact is driven by a commitment to justice and equity especially for young children and my fellow ECE teachers. I hope to continue to do the kind of work where even the earliest learners can have an educational experience that is reflective and responsive of critical histories, and their teachers are prepared to support the learning environments they deserve.”

Cheralen’s commitment to education led her to SJSU’s M.A. Emancipatory K-12 School Leadership program. When we asked Cheralen about her experience in the program, she excitedly said, “from the beginning, I felt seen and valued, and that feeling was something I wanted to learn more about, and so that I could one day be in a position to make sure students and teachers also feel seen and valued.”

The program allowed Cheralen to fulfill her passion and delve into the world of research, and inspired her to do the “work that is necessary to make change, and any positive impacts that I contribute to the field is hugely because of this program and the people.” 

SJSU allowed Cheralen to graduate with research experience, which she says is crucial in the education landscape. “I often look back at my experience and am so grateful for the research experience and the ways in which the program has challenged me as a scholar, but also as a researcher. Engaging in research that focused on student voices, their stories and their experiences reminded me of how powerful student-focused research is.”

Because of SJSU’s supportive faculty and her positive experience in the program, Cheralen learned that she wanted to continue with higher education and is now at the University of California, Santa Cruz pursuing a PhD in Education.

Anthony smiling.

Anthony Rodgers – 23′ M.A. Emancipatory K-12 Leadership

Anthony Rodgers shares a similar reason for entering the program “I sought admission to the Emancipatory K-12 School Leadership Master’s Degree with the intention of broadening my role as an educational leader and to transcend mere pedagogy to establish a praxis grounded in principles of equity.”

Anthony said that the program has allowed him to focus on “deconstructing the prevailing educational paradigm (status quo) and mitigating manifestations of marginalization and oppression within educational settings.”

He ends by telling us what he gained from the program, “[The program] heightened awareness of the urgency to integrate the voices of both families and students comprehensively across all aspects of the educational landscape.” Anthony is continuing his graduate education right here at SJSU in the Educational Leadership doctoral program (Ed.D). 

The experiences of Cheralen Valdez and Anthony Rodgers highlight the impact the M.A. Emancipatory K-12 School Leadership program at SJSU has had for each of them, and further cultivated their passion for social justice and equity in education. Their journeys reflect a transformative process of self-discovery and empowerment, allowing them to advocate for marginalized voices within educational settings. As they transition into their doctoral studies, their steadfast commitment to confronting systemic inequities paves the way for a more inclusive future in education.

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