**The gist of my job:** The role of education—and what I want to do—is to really engage our visitors in authentic, fun, inspirational learning about our collections. We are not just lecturing to passive recipients who visit the museum. You’re in this with us—we are activating your desire to engage with the art. I oversee five programs and their teams at the Center and Villa—the K-12 community schools program, resource development and professional development for teachers, our docent programs, gallery education, and youth development, a new program that’s close to my heart; I spent seven years teaching at a high school.\n\n**Discovering a passion for art education**: I was born in rural Mississippi, to a family that worked in the field and in cotton plants. My dad’s only way to escape from that was to go to college and join the military; he’s a first-generation college graduate. Because of his career, I went to 16 schools from kindergarten to 12th grade in big towns like Las Vegas and small rural towns like Clovis, New Mexico. So I learned a lot about schools and education. I think I always knew that I was going to go into education, because I was very critical of every school I went into, of every teacher and counselor. Especially as I got older, I was highly aware of what kind of education I was getting—especially what was being left out. I understood the inequities that existed in education even then. \n\nMy family is a hardworking family, like boots-on-the-ground, get-your-hands-dirty kind of family. The arts were just not something that we talked about, because “that does not make money, that does not put food on the table.” So, it was “focus on those things that are really going to propel your future, propel your trajectory.” \n\nI always felt like art was a luxury. It’s a luxury to think about art, it’s a luxury to draw, to have the time and space to be creative. For me, art was quietly drawing on the side. And I consider my writing background as artistic. I was consistently writing stories, writing books, and I was sloppily trying to illustrate the stories I wrote. When I got to Georgetown and majored in writing, I was slowly building my own pathway, taking theater, art history, and drawing classes.\n\nI started going to museums when I lived in Washington, DC. Having the Smithsonian, all the wonderful museum outlets that DC has—and historical monuments and historical houses—that’s what really activated the arts and culture for me. DC was such a multicultural city, so when I landed there, I was able to feel like “this is home, this is my city, and so the museums are part of my orbit.” The monuments became mine. I loved the architecture of Georgetown so much that I became a tour guide. I wanted everyone else to know about it and explore it.\n\n**From teaching to educating at Getty**: I always joke that I worked my way backwards in my career. My first job after graduating was in undergraduate admissions at Georgetown. After graduate school at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I moved to L.A. and worked for a high school, the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica. I thought, “This is great, now I can see the trajectory of how I can help high school kids prepare for university.” Next I went to KIPP charter middle schools and started saying, “Okay, from middle school, this is how you prepare for high school placement.” And then I was also working with elementary school students.\n\nIn making my career choices, it was really important for me to see every aspect of education I possibly could—and that proved so helpful when I did come to Getty. I had been a teacher, college admissions counselor, dean, a director of admissions, and executive director of a nonprofit. So when I saw a job that said “head of education,” I felt that I was qualified for it. It felt like my dream job. **Inspiring joy and creativity**: At Getty I’m not directly responsible for a kid’s grade, a child’s next step, where a student’s going to college. I am responsible for exploration, enrichment, for just pure joy and creativity. That’s exactly what I wanted to do, after 20 years of saying, “You’re going to USC, you’re going to Northwestern, and this is how you’re going to get there: you’re going to go to this high school, and this is how you’re going to get there.” \n\n\nHere, I learn so much from watching young people pick the objects they’re most interested in talking about. There are parts of the collection that I had not explored. Last year, a 17-year-old student in the Student Gallery Guide program gave a talk on an Ethiopian manuscript, and I was like, “We have an Ethiopian manuscript?” The level of behind-the-scenes access that an education student gets, and the knowledge they get about what it is to work at a museum, is so great.\n\n**Favorite artwork at Getty**: *Study of the Model Joseph* by Théodore Géricault. Here is why I love that painting —because I didn’t like it at first. I thought it was a static portrait of an African American, and it made me sad. But then I learned from a DEAI [Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion]-focused session with docents that Joseph was actually somewhat of a celebrity model in France back in the 1800s, and I was like: “Wait, what? The sad-looking portrait?” And so, learning that background totally changed how I looked at that piece. He was not necessarily the forlorn and disenfranchised character I created because of my positionality and assumption about Black models of the era. I wanted to learn more about the model and the artist, and that’s the strength of Getty’s approach to teaching and engaging with art. I encountered a different narrative about a portrait that viscerally saddened and frustrated me.\n\n**My wish list**: I was very intentional in my decision to work at Getty, because I wanted my then seven-month-old to grow up with the arts and museum education as a backdrop to her formal education. As with all teenagers who visit Getty, I want my daughter to feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in art and other cultural spaces. I’d love to see her become a Student Gallery Guide or have her photographs exhibited in a Getty Unshuttered show. I want her to feel inspired as a creative thinker and future artist, scholar, scientist, and researcher. I hope she sees herself reflected in the art, and even if she doesn’t, I hope she has learned visual literacy and analytical skills to explore the history and cultural narratives told and untold in any museum collection.