Shanice comes from a family of Jamaican immigrants who migrated to the United States so their children could access an education. Schooling in Jamaica beyond the 6th grade is a financial burden for many working families. After leaving Jamaica, Shanice’s mother became a nurse, and her father worked long hours in the service industry. Scarcity of resources and being a victim of trauma prevented her from a successful education in high school, and she dropped out. After attaining a GED and developing mentor relationships, she started to recognize how systems of oppression have impacted the quality of her education, safety, and support.
Shanice eventually earned a Human Services degree, and a Higher Education & Student Affairs Leadership Master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado.
Shanice has dedicated her life to educational advocacy, and she finds healing through helping students heal from their own crises.
Currently, Shanice oversees a resource center and curriculum that supports retention for Black students. Community programs with students from different schools allow Shanice engage with students, staff, and parents throughout PPS and beyond. She has also been serving as a confidential advocate for survivors of gender violence in schools for four years. Shanice studied institutional response to bias and culturally-responsive pedagogy in graduate school, but her passion for research didn’t stop there. With various research project teams, she continues this work by examining how educational environments are shaped by the social conditions they reside in.
As a student and an educator, Shanice has seen gender violence, access to food & housing, and how systems of oppression disrupt the learning process for students. If a student is unsafe or has a large unmet need, they are likely not in a position to learn in the classroom. Access to transportation is also critical, as many students in greater Portland use public transportation and participate in the YouthPass Tri-Met program. Portland, Oregon has a legacy of gentrifying Black neighborhoods and polluting areas where communities of color live. This has led Shanice to environmental justice organizing with communities- from Portland, San-Francisco, Detroit, to Albuquerque.
Our Tomorrow Starts Now
Zone 2 contains some of the most diverse schools in Portland, and the Portland Public School Board does not reflect that representation.
Shanice knows that Portland Public Schools can improve. The roots of this campaign sprouted from community organizations and trusted leaders coming together to build the system we all deserve. Community members are at the center of decision-making, and my leadership with PPS would remain accountable to them. Our community is vibrant. Within our district we have student-led arts fairs, a diverse set of religions, refugee communities, farmers markets, and dedicated fans to our school teams. It’s time to inform Oregon that schools who center equity and celebrate their students will come on top.
With a truly unified movement, we will be able to create the realities we have always deserved in schools.