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Lisa Arrastia



Recorded by

Nicolette Lodico


This interview with Lisa Arrastia, Phd was conducted on December 4, 2020, via Zoom Conference. A native of New York City and currently residing in Upstate NY, Dr. Arrastia is an educator whose experience is wide ranging. Dr. Arrastia has taught grades 9-12, founded a charter high school, served as middle/high school principal, and consulted with schools around the world. She currently is an associate professor of education at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and she is an alum of the 2016 Oral History Intensive in Chicago. Dr. Arrastia reflects on experiences that have significantly impacted her work, including working in the affluent Marin County in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she had a positive and fulfilling experience. She also talks about her experience with working-poor and working-class students when she founded a school in Chicago but was unable to secure city funding and support to keep it going. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, she was head of upper school at the Brooklyn Friends School. She recalls the stress of shutting down the school for in-person classes and the preparations for at-home learning. Dr. Arrastia also described her own experience with having COVID and how she powered through the best she could to complete the remainder of the spring 2020 session. Toward the end of the interview, Dr. Arrastia shared her feelings of exhaustion. While she sees opportunities in education presented by the COVID-19 crisis, she questions educators' ability to make radical changes in the traditional (large, powerful, rigid) American educational system.

This interview may be of interest to those who want to learn about creative approaches to learning; democratic classrooms; and intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, and social class in educational settings.

Interviewer Bio:

Nicolette Lodico is an archivist and knowledge manager who specializes in helping people and organizations—particularly those whose work supports the public good—establish sustainable practices for managing both what they create and what they know so they can make informed decisions, be transparent, and minimize risk. She helps organizations tell the story about their work, to reflect on and learn from past work and share that knowledge with those who will benefit, and to provide opportunities for future researchers and historians to examine and evaluate this work. Currently, she is the director of global information and knowledge management at the Ford Foundation where she is overseeing a comprehensive, multiyear oral history project to gather the reflections of key former staff. She also is the former president and emeritus board member of the Technology Association of Grantmakers, a non-profit organization that cultivates the strategic and equitable use of technology to advance philanthropy. She earned her M.L.S. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.