Letter from the Dean | Fall 2020 Newsletter

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“You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one”
Writer(s): John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Imagine (1971), from the Imagine Soundtrack, recorded by John Lennon

Dear Alumni, Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends of KSOE,

Imagine, the 1971 title track by John Lennon, is a well-known, and often covered, anthem of unity and peace whose very lyrics are a political statement questioning the status quo. The listener is asked to imagine the world differently; to consider what might be possible if our existing social structures suddenly weren’t there anymore. The Coronavirus pandemic has done just that. It has forced us to pause, pivot, and persevere. The significance of the moment was captured just days into the COVID-19 shutdown by Gal Gadot, our modern era Wonder Women, who assembled a group of friends to create this hopeful yet melancholy “Imagine rendition.    [“Imagine all the people, living life in peace…” are you humming along yet?]. In the KSOE, the pandemic has brought new meaning to our educational practice. It has compelled us to Reimagine.  

We've taken this opportunity to change how we approach this newsletter; to focus on stories that feature the impact of our alumni and faculty. Each newsletter edition will focus on a theme - especially relevant for the time. In this issue, we highlight stories of KSOE alumni, students, and faculty who are coming together with renewed energy for a reimagined future. Counseling faculty Drs. Anguiano and Martinez are reimagining how to partner with community organizations to heal through trauma-informed care and anti-racist pedagogies. Leadership faculty member Dr. Monique Lane talks with EdD scholar and Oakland Police Department Deputy Chief Drennon Lindsey about values-based public service and accountability in law enforcement. Rion Larson (BA ‘07, ECR ‘12, MA ‘21), and his student teacher, credential candidate Nikki Griffith (ECR ‘21) discuss how to mitigate educational inequities in K-12 flexible distance learning spaces. Drs. Adria Klein and Debra Semm Rich from the KSOE Reading Recovery Center share their excitement in receiving the HEROES grant which will allow them to expand their offerings and strengthen their support to teachers. These are just a few of the ways the KSOE is reimagining our work and leading by example.

I am deeply grateful to our KSOE Gael alumni who are answering the call to serve youth, adults, and families, especially those in greatest need. This is purposeful, challenging, and essential work as we seek to close the equity gaps exacerbated by the social pandemic of systemic racism manifesting in the school to prison pipeline and manifests in racially motivated violence. These gaps are intensified by the headwinds of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Reimagining the future means applying our creative spirit and leadership through transformative programs, especially in order to change or improve the lives of others. Doing so is deeply grounded in our Lasallian principles of respecting the dignity of others, honoring diversity, embracing service, faith, and the pursuit of truth, and championing social justice. 

This issue is dedicated to reimaging in order to answer the call of the moment. We will continue to share KSOE news on our website and social media, but we want this space to be a celebration and appreciation of the commitment and calling of our community to serve. We welcome your feedback and would love to hear from you with what you’d like to see in our next edition. 


Like many of you, my family continues to spend the shortening days of fall learning and working from home. As we head into the holidays, we will reimagine ways of being together with our loved ones despite distance and physical separation. From my family to yours, and on behalf of the extended KSOE learning community, we wish you all a healthy and safe fall and holiday season.


Carol Ann Gittens, PhD
Dean, Kalmanovitz School of Education

Fall 2020 Newsletter