It is good to join you here on Shasta Scout and I’m excited to have this opportunity to share ideas with you.

My name is Sharon and I am an educator, writer, program evaluator, and Resilience and Equity Coach.  This year will mark my twenty-fifth year here in Shasta County.

I took the long route here.  Born in New Orleans, I joined the Peace Corps after graduation and served with the Corp as an educator in Morocco for three years before leading Peace Corp training in the Comoros Islands for 6 months. From there, I traveled to New York where, thanks to the work Cornell provided me, I earned both my masters and doctorate tuition free (which seems impossible now).

I conducted graduate research for my masters in rural Mississippi, focusing on economic strategies implemented by African American women living in low -income communities.  For my doctoral research, I focused on a participatory evaluation of a women's micro-enterprise non-profit in Costa Rica.  I earned a Ph.D. in Program Evaluation and Planning with concentrations in Rural Sociology and what would now be called Gender Studies.

Twenty-five years ago I moved to eastern Shasta County where I first served as a high school counselor.  Since then I have started two businesses, worked at Shasta College both teaching Sociology and as an Associate Dean.  During this time I also raised my daughter who is now a writer and an artist with a deep love for nature. The beauty that surrounds us here has been an incredible gift to both of us. And the same beauty has been our solace after losing our Old Shasta home and belongings in the Carr Fire.

Adversity provides opportunities when we are ready, even when we would have preferred to receive them a different way.  The fire, the passing of my parents, and other realizations led me to a decision to bring together my passions in a new way.

The thread uniting my diverse work (including poetry, academic writing, research, education, coaching) has been an interest in working with others to co-create opportunities to live more deeply and well.  Those of who you do such work know this requires a commitment to justice, a desire for equity, and the self-awareness and resilience to continue learning, transforming, and engaging with others for the long, hard work ahead.

Certification as a Mind Body Medicine Practitioner and as an International Coach Federation accredited Resilience and Equity Coach have opened new ways to serve; it has been such an honor walking alongside others, sharing questions and practices, and witnessing strength, insight, and beauty.  

Engaging with you through this column, and the attention and vulnerability it requires, is the next part of my journey.  Thank you for being here and for your interest in our community.