APAICS | Bruce Leal
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Bruce Leal

Bruce Leal

Fellow

Senate Office

Senator Mazie Hirono

B

As a Teach for America (TFA HI ‘14) alum, Bruce taught U.S. History and Government in a special education resource and inclusion setting at Waipahu High School in Hawai’i. After his first year in the corps, Bruce served as a Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellow (PASF) working for the Hui for Excellence in Education Coalition (HE’E Coalition), where he worked with various local and community education stakeholders to identify best practices for family and parent engagement in Hawai’i DOE schools. Bruce worked with another fellow to analyze parent response rates to the School Quality Survey (SQS), which measures parent satisfaction. After identifying several schools with high rates of parent and family engagement, they conducted interviews at 14 schools across Oahu with community members and school staff, as well as participated in scheduled parent meetings. As a result of these site visits, they gathered further data on aspects such as parent attendance, fundraising and student performance, which they presented at the 2015 DOE Education Leadership Summit.

 

Determined to build upon this work in the community, Bruce went on to become a Policy Advisor Fellow for Patricia Halagao (TFA Bay Area, 1992) on the Hawai’i Board of Education (BOE) during his second year in the corps to champion a new state policy on multilingual education. In this role, Bruce conducted policy research and worked to pass policy to ensure that schools are creating learning environments which draw from the rich linguistic diversity and cultural strengths of Hawaii’s students. Because of Bruce’s effort and partnership with Patricia, Hawaii is now one of only two states to hold this policy that seeks to address a nearly 20 point nation- wide graduation gap between English language learners and the national average.

 

Prior to becoming an APAICS Congressional Fellow, Bruce worked as the Tribal Education Specialist for the National Indian Education Association, which is the only national nonprofit organization focused exclusively on advocating for educational excellence, opportunity, and equity for all American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students through active support of traditional Native cultures and values. He currently serves as an Advisory Council Member on Teach for America’s Native Alliance Initiative, and previously worked for the Maryland General Assembly as Legislative and Campaign Finance Director for a Maryland State Senator. He recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University, where he obtained his Master’s in Education Policy.

 

Meet the rest of the fellows!