Core Collective

Meet some of the educators behind Trans Educators Network!

Aarav Sundaresh

(Aar- like the letter, “R” -av, rhymes with “love,” emphasis on the first syllable; Sun-, like “soon,” -dar- rhymes with “far,” -esh, like “fresh”).

Aarav is a visual arts educator committed to activating student voice and honoring personal experience through creative practice. He has taught at both middle and high school levels, has been involved with LGBT and arts focused youth and community development organizations, and facilitates professional development focused on developing culturally responsive, social and racial justice art curricula. Aarav believes in the importance of reflecting on our own personal, educational and professional experiences to build awareness of our roles and impact as educators, and to build connection and understanding with the youth populations we serve. Aarav is South Asian, second gen in the United States. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his partner and two kids.

Abby North (SHE/HER)

I am Abby, pronounced “ab-ee,” and my pronouns are she, her, and hers. I live in Fairbanks, Alaska where I teach science and mathematics at a 7-12 public school. Finding TEN and having the support from others has made a huge difference in my transition at work, and has really helped me feel like I’m not just going at this alone. I hoped to join the TEN core collective because helping others is important to me, and I want to do what I can to help other transgender, gender non-conforming and gender diverse educators.

Alice Grimm (SHE/HER)

Alice Grimm (she/her) is currently located in Oakland, CA. Alice grew up in Wellesley, MA and Amherst, NH and is in her 7th year living in the East Bay. Alice is currently a math teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School, a private college prep school located in San Francisco, CA. Before that she was a math teacher at Deerfield Academy, a private New England boarding school. She got into teaching as a means of political action that felt sustainable for her, and her work with wealthy predominately white institutions has been interesting. Ask her about Deerfield. She believes in community as the unit of transformation, and feels a fierce need to build and participate in community.

Jamey Jesperson (THEY/THEM)

Jamey [jay-me] Jesperson (they/them) is a white ex-Mormon non-binary transfemme educator, activist, and researcher based in New York City. They completed their degree in Global Gender Studies at The New School in 2016 where they studied queer justice movements with a critical focus on trans and intersex rights, anti-racism, and settler colonialism. Following graduation, Jamey joined the Trans Identity Formation Study (TIFS) at NYU as a Research Assistant and started working full-time as the Education Associate at GLSEN in charge of educator support and managing their national Professional Development training program. Jamey is passionate about achieving trans liberation in tandem with decolonization by dismantling the colonial gender binary through education.

Jamil Moises Liban-Ortañez (they/them, zie/zir, he/him)

[pronounced: ha-meeel moysez]

Jamil Moises currently holds space in Oakland, CA. Their heart practices lie at the intersection of artivist-healer-rad dad. By day, you’ll find them facilitating support groups with middle school queerlings in San Francisco. By night, they spend time with beloved community, write zines about transpower, and study Filipinx art healing traditions. They are thrilled to organize with TEN’s core collective! Being in community with TEN aligns with the kind of world they want to live in: one that supports empowering learning environments, collective liberation, and realizing just and caring cultures (in and outside the classroom).

Kaleo Tevaitea Ramos

Kah-Leh-O (Kaleo) Rah-Mo-S (Ramos)

I am the Student Services Coordinator (SSC) and English Language Arts (ELA) Teacher in a Hawaiian focused public charter school on the Island of Oʻahu. I manage the Special Education Department and teach ELA Grade 8. Part-time I work for one of the prominent non-profit agencies in Hawaiʻi delivering services through the Nā ʻOhana Pūlama- family and foster youth program. I work as a therapeutic para-professional in an all-male juvenile group home for youth sex offenders- all young men with trauma in their histories, which in nearly all cases, contributed largely to their involvement in various sex offenses. Kaleo has an AA in Liberal Studies, a BA in Hawaiian Language, a BA in Elementary Education, and a Post-Baccalaureate in Special Education. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution in 2018 from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). Kaleo will soon publish his thesis and enroll at UHM in a doctoral program in education. In addition to Kaleo’s career as a teacher and lifelong learner, he is also involved in a number of activities and services within the LGBTQIA community.

Since 2007 Kaleo has served as an active part of Hawai’i’s LGBTQIA community through a number of organizations such as being the co-chair and certified trainer to GLSEN Hawai’i, board member with C.R.E.A.T.E. One ‘Ohana, Emperor and chairman of the Privy Council for the Imperial Court of Hawai’i, 2nd vice chair to the Imperial Court of Hawai’i Board of Directors, Heir Apparent and council member to the International Imperial Court System, advisor to the LGBT Legacy Foundation, co-administrator of Trans Spectrum Hawai’i, co-chair to Ka Aha Māhū, LGBT caucus member for the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, executive committee and teacher leader through Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association (HSTA), Honolulu representative to the Human and Civil Rights committee, appointee and member to the National Education Association Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity committee and council member to the Hawai’i Youth Coalition. Kaleo also serves as a liaison for a number of organizations, which include, but are not limited to, the Hawaiʻi Health and Harm Reduction Center, Kuaʻana Project, GSA Hawai’i, Pride at Work Hawai’i and a number of legislative officers. He joined in as an active resource to Family Court LGBT caucus, working to support our LGBT youth within the juvenile justice system. Other involvements include the Hawai’i Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, University of Hawai’i’s Safe Zone trainings, advisory committee on effective practices for LGBT people reporting abuse via the LGBT caucus with the Sex Abuse Treatment Center, spearheaded a few legislative bills that became Hawaiʻi law; as well as many as other engagements which provide services for the betterment of conditions for our LGBTQIA community.

Personally, Kaleo is a son, father, and partner. He loves to shop, watch movies, read, research, learn, visit the beach and workout at the gym. Kaleo is a homebody for the most and appreciates whenever he is able to relax at home. Although Kaleo does not like traveling, he found himself visiting 27 states and 3 countries. He loves to learn about new places and wishes that he could travel more, but his inability to travel due to motion sickness is a huge damper on these experiences.

Mario Itzel Suárez (He/HIM)

My name is Mario Itzel Suárez and am a recent doctoral graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  I also have a BA in Ethnic Studies (emphasis in Mexican American Studies) and a MA in Mathematics Education from The University of Texas at Austin.  Part of what brings me to this work really has to do with my experience as a trans teacher of color from the Texas-México border living most of my life in the South and as a first-generation college student.  I was a high school mathematics teacher at a Title 1 school in Austin ISD for 8 years, and came out as trans my second year of teaching.  Needless to say, at that time, even in Austin, I did not feel the most welcomed with the administration I had and had to learn how to navigate the lack of legal backing and anti-discrimination policies in Austin almost a decade ago.  As a result, I, along with some concerned teachers, staff, and parents, formed our union's LGBTQ School Equality Initiative and the Austin ISD LGBTQ Advisory Committee, which contributed to some progress for our city's students, faculty, and staff.  As a researcher, I now try to contribute to the community by doing research that is relevant to queer students and teachers, whether it be in a mathematics context or otherwise.  I am excited to be a part of this group of extremely talented and brave individuals and am happy to help in any way I can, as I couldn't have had the opportunities I've been afforded without some amazing friends and allies.  After having graduated with my Ph.D from Texas A&M, I will be moving to Logan, Utah with my partner, who is currently faculty at Utah State University.

Mauro Sifuentes

Mauro Sifuentes (pronounced: m-ow-ro with a rolled “r” if you can swing it) works in Oakland as a social justice-focused youth educator in nonprofit and community settings. Any and all pronouns work for him/her/them. Mauro is drawn to work focused on gender and racial justice with young people in the field of education because youth are so curious and open-minded and want to develop collaborative communities for shared futures.