Ruthie Chen Ousley will be at Blue on Friday to help us answer a tough question– Can Education Break the Cycle of Poverty? Ruthie is a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America in New York City.
What song is at the top of your playlist?
“I Want You Back” – cover by Colbie Caillat (original, of course, by Jackson 5). Never fails to make me smile! (Hear it here.)
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I decided at age four, with limited knowledge of the many possible career options out there, that I wanted to be a doctor. My parents both had completed post-graduate study in the sciences, and I always enjoyed going to the pediatrician (mostly for the lollipops, but I also liked that really clean smell and getting to jump up on the examination table – literally, as I was taking gymnastics lessons at the time).
What is the best piece of either personal or professional advice you’ve gotten?
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24. It’s easy to let social justice work become its own idol and to become self-righteous about it. I’ve found it to be so important to come back to this verse as a reminder that I do this work for God.
Do you have a favorite quote or scripture verse that motivates and inspires you?
Too many to count, but a standby for me when thinking about my work is Jeremiah 29:7, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Do you have a website or blog to share with our readers?
I do have a website that I run for my teachers, but it’s private since we sometimes share great stuff from classrooms on there internally. However, if you’re interested in checking out some of what we do at Teach For America, I’d suggest the national website, our national Facebook page, or the regional website for our team of teacher leadership development staff and current corps members here in New York.
More about Ruthie:
Ruthie has worked in education and leadership development since graduating from Duke University in 2009. After a year of providing leadership training to collegiate/alumnae leaders of a national women’s organization and seeing first-hand a lack of diversity in collegiate student leadership, Ruthie joined the fight for educational equity in K-12 public education. As a Teach For America corps member, Ruthie brought access to advance high school credit to her 7th and 8th grade science students at a public middle school in the South Bronx, and now is in her second year as a Manager, Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America, coaching 35 1st and 2nd-year teachers in the Bronx to provide a transformative educational experience to their students.