11/28/2018: AAPI Teachers as Advocates, 5pm - 7pm

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Walter Library room 402

Session Description

Asian American and Pacific Islander Teachers as Advocates

Asian American students are one of the fastest growing student populations in Minnesota’s urban school districts.  Yet, only 22.5% of Asian Minnesotans have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. There are myriad issues that affect this disparity and other disparities in education. 

Building upon last year’s panel talk on a more positive representation of Asian American and Pacific Islander teachers in our education system, this year’s panelists will discuss the powerful role educators can play in combating oppression. What should be the responsibilities of equity-focused educators to support the safety and liberation of students of marginalized identities? The panelists will discuss how they create classroom and school environments that welcome all students and their intersecting identities. 


Light refreshment provided. FREE and open to all.

AAPI Panelists will discuss a range of topics and themes:

-Identifying as advocates through pedagogy and practice as AAPI educators

-Reconceptualizing power dynamics

-Advocacy as an ongoing journey and responsibility for all educators

-Creating an inclusive community within classrooms and schools


Meet our AAPI teachers and educators panel:

Ali Alowonle

I am in my 15th year of teaching. In 2008, I collaborated with a team to write a proposal to our school board to create a school within a school, multi-age program for highly gifted students and have been teaching in the program since its inception in 2009. In addition to teaching, I am a Paideia Trainer with the Augsburg Paideia Institute. Building community, exploring different perspectives, and advocating for marginalized populations are passions and priorities of mine.


Tung Pham

I am a child of Vietnamese refugees and grew up in Brooklyn Center and Shoreview.  Upon graduating from Mounds View High School, I was determined to become a teacher.  I studied elementary education and history as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I started my graduate studies at the University of Minnesota and then at Mankato State University, where I completed my Masters Degree and Principal Licensure.

I began my teaching career in 2004.  After 11 years as an elementary classroom teacher, I became a Data Teams Specialist for the Saint Paul District to support teachers in improving their practice.  I continued this work coaching teachers at LEAP High School, then became an administrative intern at Humboldt High School. Currently, I serve as the Assistant Principal at The Heights Community School in St. Paul.

Tung Pham is an Assistant Principal in the St. Paul School District and has a background in supporting and improving teachers in their practice.  Tung has worked extensively in schools such with large diverse and AAPI student population such as LEAP High School and Humboldt High School.


May Vang Swanson

I am in my 11th year of teaching and currently at teaching middle school math at Capitol Hill Magnet School in St. Paul Public Schools. I have my BA from the University of St. Thomas and my M.Ed from the University of Minnesota. I am an active member of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) and serve on the board as a region director (2017-2020). Teaching math and learning how to teach math are my passion. Being an educator is not always rewarding, but I know I’m in it to change how students see and do math.


Silvy Un

I'm excited to be in my role as Assistant Principal at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM.  I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and then immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia with my parents and five siblings. I grew up in Rosemount, Minn. and graduated from Rosemount Senior High School. After high school, I attended college at the University of Notre Dame and then earned a master's degree in education from Boston College as a Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar. After teaching middle school on the east coast, I returned to Minnesota to complete a Ph.D. in Education: Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. My research interests include topics in education related to race, equity, culturally relevant pedagogy and the experiences of students from immigrant backgrounds.

Before my role at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School, I served as an administrator for five years in Saint Paul Public Schools. My goal is to use my training as an educator and education researcher to support students, teachers and families ensure that all students graduate college and career ready.  I also hope to develop student leaders who are dedicated to serving their community.


Mouakong Vue

Mouakong Vue is a Social Studies teacher at Johnson High School in St. Paul.  Mouakong has a background in youth programs and has facilitated out-of-school programs with Hmong American students.  Mouakong has been involved with local performing arts programs and has a passion for education, teaching, and social justice.


“To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/ spiritual leap and become more 'human' human beings. In order to change/ transform the world, they must change/ transform themselves.” - Grace Lee Boggs

Presented by DirecTrack to Teaching Program and APARC.