Veronica Katz

I was always very involved in using my language skills to serve others. As an undergraduate, I was especially interested in medical anthropology and spent a lot of time volunteering at a free clinic that served the Latino community in St. Louis.

Education Policy Ph.D program, Year 3
(B.A. ’06 Anthropology & Spanish, Washington University; M.Ed. ’08 Education, Loyola Marymount University)

Veronica taught sixth-grade math, science, history, and health at a middle school in south central Los Angeles on the border of Watts and Compton. The area was at the epicenter of the Watts riots that took place in the 1960s and is still fraught with economic, ethnic, and cultural challenges. While she was teaching, Veronica took night classes and earned a master’s degree in education from Loyola Marymount University. After TFA, she taught for two years at private school in Santa Monica.

A Little Background

“I was always very involved in using my language skills to serve others. As an undergraduate, I was especially interested in medical anthropology and spent a lot of time volunteering at a free clinic that served the Latino community in St. Louis. In applying to TFA, I knew I wanted to continue to serve the Latino community. I was not specifically interested in education per se, but I requested to be placed in Los Angeles and was fortunate to get my first choice.”

Her Inspiration

“My students, the lives I touched and maybe changed, and the ones that I couldn’t quite reach. I think of them often and even keep a picture on my desk to remind me why I’m here.”

One Thing She Will Always Remember

“We have got to do better. My students were so ill-prepared when they came to me, which was indicative of the quality of their elementary education.”

Why Curry?

“When I was teaching in Los Angeles, I felt like I was on a sinking ship. There is a real need for systemic change in our public education system, especially for urban schools. My decision to pursue a graduate degree in Education Policy is entirely due to my experience in TFA. I came to the Curry School because I wanted to work with Jim Wyckoff [Director of the Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness]. I knew I wanted to work on teacher labor market issues, and he is a leading expert in this area.”