Carmen Cruz earned her Bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Brooklyn College shortly before being accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellowship (NYCTF). Through the NYCTF, she earned a Master's degree in Special Education for Adolescents (Grades 7-12) at St. John's University, in Jamaica, Queens. Carmen has been a Special Education teacher for the NYC Department of Education for nine years, seven of which have been at Sunset Park High School, in Brooklyn, NY. Carmen’s goal is to ultimately become a teacher of teachers and to guide them through essential culturally responsive work earlier in their careers. To achieve this goal, she is pursuing a Doctoral degree in Instructional Leadership at St. John’s University. At Sunset Park High School, Carmen has specialized in decolonizing curricula for the humanities courses she co-teaches. Outside of the classroom, she is a member of her school’s Restorative Practices and Transformative Actions Team and Cultural Celebrations and Critical Actions Team, both of which work to create a critically conscious and culturally responsive school environment. When Carmen is not wearing all her hats at Sunset Park High School, she is either working on her memoir, playing co-ed softball with her friends, or being the happiest of soccer moms watching her son, Vincent, become a soccer superstar.