Educator Opens Doors to Possibilities
- Major: Doctorate of Educational Leadership
- Class Of: 2015
“ I wanted to be the compassionate anchor for these undeserved population, to move them from hurt to hope, to advocate for their possibilities so that it's not just about beating the odds, rather, changing the odds for them ”
Kathrine Morillo-Shone has worn many hats during her 19 years in education but she has always been a possibility maker.
Prior to teaching, she worked as a counselor at an institution for severely emotionally disturbed boys. After seeing the impact that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) had on children’s learning, she was inspired to help children get the education they deserve by becoming a teacher.
“I wanted to be the compassionate anchor for these undeserved population, to move them from hurt to hope, to advocate for their possibilities so that it’s not just about beating the odds, rather, changing the odds for them,” she says.
After serving as a teacher, then principal at Pomona Unified School District, she moved to the district office as interim director of equity and significant disproportionality. In this role she ensured access to education, opportunities and support for students, especially those who were historically marginalized, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity, background, etc.
Her professional goals are also personal for her. Like many of the students she works with, English is her second language. Because of her own experiences, she wants to ensure that all children are given the necessary tools they need to be successful, giving them access to countless possibilities for the future.
Currently, she serves as the director of equity and professional learning, where the goal is the same—ensure positive impact on students—but the “how” now shifts to adults, where she focuses on professional development for teachers and leaders.
“In small, strategic steps, we [PUSD] have begun our journey as a district to redesign our professional development model to ensure that it builds individual and collective efficacy, promotes deep organizational learning and sustainable optimal results,” Morillo-Shone says. “All of which ultimately leads to higher achievement and college and career readiness for all students.”
She says that being part of the doctoral program at Cal Poly Pomona redefined what “possibility” is all about. Now, she is better equipped to approach a problem from multiple angles, and is more confident in her ability to be a complex problem-solver and strategic decision maker, making her job even more fulfilling.
“The whole notion of advocacy for equity and deeper learning for all fuels my fire from within to be the best that I can become each and every day and radiate that energy to those around me for a purpose that is much greater than me, than all of us.”