About Me

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Educator – Writer – Speaker

Neuroscience Nerd – Everyday Activist

We are all many things, and I can’t separate one piece of myself from the others. Nor would I want to. You will find the many, varied pieces of me through this site. Most of my work is focused on education issues, but I’m also an adventure-seeking, travel-loving, neuroscience nerd. And underpinning all of that, I’m an everyday activist, always looking for ways to challenge inequities in my daily life.

I’ve been an educator since I was about 5, and my students were a hodgepodge of dolls and stuffed animals. (I didn’t have any younger siblings.) I didn’t immediately go into education as an adult though. Everyone assumed I would since my mom is a lifelong teacher, and I’m essentially a mini-me of her. Which is probably why I avoided becoming a teacher for so long.

But once I started teaching, I was hooked.

It started when I was working with teens in foster care – first as a pseudo-parent in group homes and then as the program director of a college and career access program designed to support those same young adults. I quickly came to realize that only 50% of kids in foster care even graduate from high school. And they are much more likely to be identified as needing special education services.

Which is why I decided to become certified as a special education teacher and was soon employed at the local public high school. Teaching is not easy business by any means, especially with salaries so low that many have to supplement with other jobs. But I knew that my job mattered. Every minute of every day.

I eventually decided I needed to learn more about how we can most effectively teach kids who are struggling in school. So I moved to New York, and obtained a Master of Science in neuroscience and education from Columbia University. Now I write and speak about educational issues with a focus on disability, social-emotional wellbeing, trauma, and issues of equity. I also work as an equity specialist for Bank Street College of Education where I provide professional development and technical assistance to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

Although I’m not in the classroom anymore, I am committed to making life better and easier for educators and students. And especially for our most vulnerable students – including kids with disabilities and learning challenges, kids who are living in poverty, kids who are homeless or in foster care, and kids who are stigmatized and side-lined by the system and our society.

You can contact me at trynia.kaufman@gmail.com

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