The first time I was called an “activist teacher” it was meant as an insult. It’s also the moment when I knew I had the power to move people, even if it was moving them to insult me. My name is Tracy Castro-Gill. People call me TenaciousT. By people, I mean me.
I’m an educator in Seattle Public Schools. I’ve been with my district for 5 years now, and in that short time I have become so deep in racial justice activism that it’s the first answer to both questions, “What do you do for a living?” and “What are your hobbies?” Now, let me be clear: I am an introvert with anxiety disorder, so you will rarely see me at marches and rallies. I do attend them when I can, but part of why I am compelled to start a blog is to help people understand how activism and leadership don’t need to be loud, public acts. You may occasionally find me at teacher conferences leading workshops, but most of what I do happens in small groups behind closed doors, and I am rarely credited for it.
Having said that, I am an award winning educator. In 2017, I was recognized for my work on developing an ethnic studies program in Seattle Public Schools by my local NAACP chapter. I was chosen as the 2019 Puget Sound Education Service District’s Regional Teacher of the Year for my work on racial justice in the district and with my union, the Seattle Education Association; specifically, The Center for Racial Equity.
In addition to my “day job,” I was recently appointed to the Teaching Tolerance Advisory Board. For those who aren’t sure, Teaching Tolerance is the education advocacy program of the Southern Poverty Law Center. I’m honored and excited to learn with other anti-racist educators from across the country!
I am also a doctoral student! My focus is on curriculum, assessment, and instruction especially as it pertains to the creation and implementation of ethnic studies and racial justice… go figure! So, expect some blog posts of my writing assignments. I’m learning a lot about my own district and work in this process.
Other than my doctoral assignments, you can expect blog posts about my thoughts on racial justice (like the title says), reflections on my work and the work of my colleagues, opinions about news related to racial justice and education, and information on how to contact me and where to find me when I do make public appearances!