Nancy Claspill "74"
I've been teaching non-stop since 1974. I taught at a private school in Menlo Park while completing the work on my elementary credential. When the credential was completed, I taught for a year in San Jose and then a year in the small town of Avenal. Previous to being in Avenal, I hadn't paid much attention to migrant educational issues. The Latinos I had known were well-educated. In Avenal I learned what insttutionalized racism looks like. Students were not allowed to speak Spanish on campus. There was a huge gap between the home and school. The school only contacted the home when there was trouble. That's where I began my policy of making home visits to each and every parent who didn't come to conferences at the beginnning of each school year, to meet with parents and listen to their concerns.
After that year I moved to Watsonville where relationships between Hispanic families and the schools were much more supportive. I taught bilingual 2nd and 3rd grades for eight years. During one of my early years there, I referred one of my students to the Learning Disabilities Specialist. She said she didn't work with Spanish-speaking students. That motivated me to get a Masters, and a credential, in what was called 'Learning Handicaps' at that time. I have been a Resource Specialist for students with learning disabilities for the last twenty-two years. I have a passion for educating students and working with their families.
I am divorced. I have two birth daughters, and an informal foster daughter who is truly part of our family. Two of my daughters are graduating from college this year; one from California State University of Monterey Bay (majoring in Social Work) and one from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania (majoring in Engineering). They share, with me, a desire to have positive impacts on the communities we live in.