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Sean Sanford

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I am a Colorado-based activist, researcher, writer, public speaker, and volunteer with international experience, a passion for empowering people to improve their lives and mobilize their communities, and keen interests in economic and social democracy, international and intercultural relationships, voluntary community, and conscientious relationship with and stewardship of both natural and human-created ecosystems. I am currently interested in transitioning from a successful career in public education, to new opportunities as a researcher, writer, speaker, and/or organizer for progressive social organizations.

Growing up in the racially and socio-economically diverse suburb of Aurora, Colorado, I developed strong, life-long interests in history, social and political theories, and the diversity of human cultures, lifestyles, religions, and languages. As the son of US Air Force service members, I also spent half of my childhood and adolescence overseas, experiencing local cultures, gaining new perspectives, and making friends in post-Cold War Berlin, rural England, and northern Japan, where I began my five-year journey in learning the Japanese language.

At Georgetown University, I pursued a major in Sociology: Justice Analysis with a focus on community field research, which allowed me to leave the privileged "bubble" of Georgetown and both volunteer and learn in DC's more impoverished inner-city neighborhoods, for example cataloging potential affordable-housing resources; co-teaching DC history and civics to 5th-graders; providing food to people experiencing homelessness around Metro subway stations and parks; and tutoring low-income adults. Additionally, I completed minors in both Japanese Language and History, while simultaneously taking multiple courses in Political Science, Statistics, Journalism, and Theology. I also participated in social activities with the African Students' Group, Muslim Students' Association, and Outdoor Adventure Team, as well as Alternative Spring Breaks combining volunteer work, cultural education, and recreation in Robeson County, North Carolina, and along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. During my college years I became an active member of the progressive urban All Souls Church Unitarian congregation, culminating in a senior Sociology research thesis on the social justice impact and legacy of the church's first African-American senior minister, Rev. David S. Eaton, from 1969 to 1992.

Moving back to Colorado in 2007, I worked for Denver Public Schools as a charter school liaison, supervising and collaborating with over a dozen charter schools to meet their needs and ensure their compliance and satisfactory academic performance, and also receiving a "crash course" in communicating and networking within a complex public bureaucracy. Seeking to work more "in the field" and directly with people, I applied and was accepted into the highly competitive Denver Teaching Fellows program, going on to teach ECE/Pre-K for five years at a predominantly Latino, high-poverty neighborhood public school in North Denver; an additional year of ECE to both English and Spanish-speaking students at a highly diverse, high-poverty neighborhood school in Far Northeast Denver; and finally one year of first grade at a predominantly Latino, high-poverty neighborhood public school in the suburb of Northglenn. Throughout my years of teaching I have built strong, mutually-supportive relationships with culturally and socio-economically diverse students' families, including speakers of Spanish, Ethiopian Amharic, and Bahasa Indonesian; honed my skills in collaborative teamwork and designing meaningful, engaging instruction in science and social studies; and gained a basic competency in Spanish in order to teach Spanish-speaking ECE students and communicate with their families.

I am deeply thankful for the past seven years that I have gotten to spend as a teacher in neighborhood public schools, helping many young children grow and achieve their best and building relationships with my professional colleagues as well as students' families. Now I believe it is the time to explore new opportunities outside of classroom teaching, using my extensive skills in communications, research, analysis, and collaboration with diverse partners to pursue my passion for organic, grassroots-based social justice movements.

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