Viviana Cabrales Garcia has served as an educator in the Bay Area for nearly 20 years. A child of immigrants, Viviana has first-hand experience of what it is like to navigate a system that is not set up for one's own success. She recalls stepping onto the grounds of the University of California Los Angeles as a first-year undergraduate student and seeing very few students from communities such as her own. Throughout the course of her undergraduate education, she learned how to navigate higher education and came to understand the wide range of preparatory experiences and resources her peers had had access to and which she had not. It was in these early years that Viviana committed her professional career to ensuring that others from communities such as her own would someday be well-represented in such spaces. This is what ultimately led her to the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Education, where she received her teaching credential and Masters's degree as part of the Developmental Teacher Education program.
Viviana spent several years in the elementary school classroom. She served a community in San Jose that was predominantly low-income, Latino/Hispanic, English Language Learners. She collaborated with colleagues and participated in a variety of leadership roles focused on ensuring students were receiving culturally and linguistically responsive experiences.
Seeking to impact change beyond her four classroom walls, she joined Partners In School Innovation, a non-profit that works to support educators at various levels of the school system in becoming equity-focused change agents. Her work supported the adults in the system in deepening their practice, providing thoughtfully planned instruction (when working with teachers), improving teachers’ capacities (when working with instructional coaches), aligning school systems (when working with site administrators), and aligning systems of support and professional learning (when working with district administrators). This work was grounded in the principles and best practices of school transformation and intentional, consistent cycles of inquiry.
Viviana drew upon her many years working alongside teachers, coaches, principals, and district administrators for her own work as principal of AJ Dorsa Elementary School in the Alum Rock Union School District. Viviana worked collaboratively with staff to attend to the academic and social-emotional learning of all students. She understood that attending to students holistically also meant that the needs of adults (staff and families) needed to be at the center of the work. This meant creating systems of multi-tiered support, collaborating with community organizations, and fostering Early Learning.
Viviana joins 21CSLA as a Lead Trainer in preparing educational leaders across California to offer high-quality, equity-based Universal Pre-Kindergarten.