Lead for America Hometown Fellow, Schenectady City School District
Travis Ghirdharie always understood the value of education and the power it can give to students. Born in Queens, he is the child of Guyanese immigrants. When Travis was five years old, he and his family were part of a migration of Guyanese immigrants to Schenectady - part of an effort to revitalize the city’s economy. He is currently a Lead for America Hometown Fellow with the Schenectady City School District. He researches and advocates for the city’s Caribbean student population. He directs the district’s Participatory Budgeting Process across six elementary schools. As a result of this project, students were able to realize their power to create change, while they democratically decided how to spend $33,000. Travis also serves on the Equity Policy and Anti-Racism Subcommittees to help the district revise its policies to meet all of our students’ needs. Travis' work with the district was informed by his time as a Teach for America Corps Member. As a Global History teacher in Bushwick, he implemented multicultural education practices so his students could see themselves in their curriculum. In his classroom, he worked to deconstruct eurocentrism, pushed performance-based learning, and incorporated joy into his instruction. His students made podcasts about religious coexistence and wrote historical fiction narratives. Travis’ passion for education equity developed during his time at Cornell University. He started his undergraduate studies at sixteen, and graduated four years later with a B.A. in Government and Anthropology and minors in Education, Inequality Studies, Law and Society, and Policy Analysis and Management. Through his coursework, Travis studied the ways the opportunity gap in education manifests throughout society. His lived experience as a first-generation/low-income student transformed his studies into action, as he became a Policy and Advocacy Mobilizer and President of the First-Generation Student Union. He lobbied for the creation of a First-gen Rep on the Student Assembly, and started a First-Gen/Low-Income Support Group. . He’s excited to continue his growth as a learner and leader.