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Aukeem Ballard

BA ’11, MAT ’12
Berkeley, California

Aukeem Ballard, BA ’11, MAT ’12, came to Lewis & Clark from Tacoma, Washington. He sought out an atmosphere of inquiry and exploration for his education. He found this as a prospective student at Lewis & Clark when he was sitting in the cafeteria and overheard philosophical discussions at a lunch table. Ballard was involved with student government in various capacities throughout his college career. During his time at L&C he studied abroad in India (2009) and Australia (2010). He was a member of Peer Review Authority, the College Honor Board and College Review Board, dealing with all matters and severity of conduct cases. He was also community relations coordinator for the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark and an intern at Center for Career and Community Engagement. Ballard was also very active with the student slam poetry group, Apocalips.

After getting his degree in communications, Ballard received his masters of arts in teaching from the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. For Ballard and his family, this was an exciting accomplishment because he is a first generation college student. He also received the Woodrow Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color for his graduate degree. For Ballard, all the opportunities he received at Lewis & Clark helped him throughout job interviews because he was able to speak about internships and work he did with professors. He was also able to stress his ability to work with others and desire for learning as a way of life.

While student teaching (and eventually full-time teaching) at Lane Middle school in Portland, Ballard quickly got involved in education policy at the city and state level. He worked with City Club of Portland and strategic policy partners to secure a bolstering of civic engagement and education in school. After two years working in Portland, he found his way to Bay Area, California where he taught 9th grade social studies for 3 years while he supported faculty in developing their capacity to hold space for critical conversations around diversity and equity, as well as supporting social justice curriculum reform within the network. He held a dual position as teacher of a course on emotional wellness, identity development, and cultural competence and responsiveness (Habits, Community, and Culture), as well as Dean of Students for both 9th and 12th grade. He currently serves as Vice Principal for Summit Public Schools. He also works with a non-profit network call Young Dreamer Network where he supports chapters in U.S. school that are seeking to cultivate a sense of leadership and service (global and local) in their students through a social justice lens.