Steve Askar believes all children carry the capacity to unlock pathways of opportunity for themselves and their community; a capacity strengthened through conscious access to diversity. This belief stems from Steve’s upbringing. As a son of Persian immigrants, he learned early on that difference embraced carries greater prospect than difference oppressed. As a first-generation college graduate (B.S. Brigham Young University Idaho summa cum laude, M.S. Johns Hopkins summa cum laude), he understood that education acts as access point for greater opportunity. As preschool teacher (named 2016 San Diego County ECE Teacher of the Year), elementary-school teacher, and eventual Dean of Student Culture in San Diego (recipient of the 2019 San Diego Teach For Innovation Award in Diversity Equity Inclusion), he felt inspired by the leadership and advocacy of the little ones he spent time with. Now, as an Ed.M. candidate in the School Leadership Program and RIDES fellow, Steve will continue to advocate for our youngest learners alongside students, their families, and other community members. By building bridges to support change agents, Steve hopes to strengthen systems through principles of integration and racial equity, while also challenging injustice through transformational practice. In his downtime, Steve values moments with his partner and their two young children.