I was born in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas in 1975 when my family fled from the American War in Vietnam. Because my Grandfather, Trần Quốc Bửu, was the leader of the South Vietnamese trade union movement for Vietnamese independence and my father, Trần Quốc Tuấn, was a soldier in the South Vietnamese Army, our family had connections with George Meany, the first president of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and The Congress if Industrial Organizations), as well as other powerful political figures in America who assisted us in immigrating to the U.S. I recognize the privileges that I came from that have afforded me the position and status that I have as a teacher to influence young people as they grow into adulthood. My lived experience as a daughter of refugees and as a first-generation Vietnamese-American guides the decisions I make in my daily life and informs my teaching pedagogy with humanity and compassion as my foundations.
However, with privilege also came hard work. I earned a presidential scholarship to study at Utah State University and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Illustration and a minor in Philosophy. I have been involved in the creative industry for nearly 30 years and have served as a volunteer in many communities. With frequent moves associated with military living from 1997-2011, I worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. I specialized in portraiture and designing posters and artwork for various companies and battalions within the U.S. Army. Additionally, I have volunteered as a Family Readiness Group leader working closely with the rear detachment to prepare spouses and families through the unique and difficult demands of multiple deployments. I also coordinated art instruction and community building activities through Army Community Services for families of deployed soldiers. With my family's move to Washington, I earned a web design certification at South Puget Sound Community College and my Master's in Teaching with endorsements in Reading and the Visual Arts at The Evergreen State College. In 2019, I earned my National Board Teacher Certification in Early Adolescence through Young Adult Visual Arts Education and have a Career & Technical Education (CTE) certification.
I took a 1 year leave from 2014-2015 to operate a small art supply retail business in downtown Olympia. My experience as a small business owner managing art supplies, promoting classes and workshops, engaging with the local community and other small businesses has given me many resources to bring back into the classroom to enrich student learning. Even in the midst of a global pandemic and a time of upheaval in which we must face the historic racial inequities within our country, I am excited to engage students, caregivers, and community members through the visual arts at River Ridge. I am fortunate to be able to continue supporting young people in developing artistic skills not only as an asset for those interested in pursuing careers in creative fields but also for every student in becoming global citizens who understand the creative process and the impact that art has on individuals, cultures, and history.
What you can expect from me in my classroom is differentiated instruction and culturally responsive teaching to meet diverse learning needs. I will do my best to ensure equitable access to education for all students and am invested in partnering with caregivers to do so. My teaching philosophy embraces anti-racist, LGBTQ+ affirming, multicultural, and feminist education to create a compassionate, humanizing learning community within a safe and empowering environment. I am commited to the humanitarian and civil rights work of the Black Lives Matter movement and am one of the co-advisors of the RRHS Black Student Union. We are an inclusive club that focuses on creating affirming educational spaces.
Please email me with you're questions, comments, or concerns. I check my email multiple times throughout the day. This is the best way to reach me.