Mission Statement

SAYS is a movement to transform education. Founded in 2009 at UC Davis by Dr. Vajra Watson, SAYS breaks the chains of underachievement by elevating the voices of young people and creating spaces for students to become authors of their own lives and agents of change.

Through year-round programming, SAYS strives to change the world through education and empowerment. Building on a foundation of critical literacy and spoken word performance poetry, SAYS  services support the improvement of schools through teacher professional development, classroom instruction, and after-school programming. SAYS utilizes evidence-based pedagogies and an award-winning curriculum to prepare people to serve as cultural keepers, artistic dreamers, and scholar activists who work within and beyond the walls of schools to enact and embody a transformative educational praxis.


SAYS Staff and Structure

Dr. Vajra Watson
Director of Research and Policy for Equity, SAYS Founder and Director

Read her bio

Patrice Hill
SAYS Coordinator

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Ijeoma Ononuju
SAYS Scholar 

 

Denisha Bland
Lead Poet-Mentor Educator
Learning Skills Counselor

Read her bio

Andre Tillman 
Poet-Mentor Educator and Lead for Kings Raising Kings
Learning Skills Counselor

Jennifer Vargas 
Poet-Mentor Educator
Learning Skills Counselor

 

Ronnee LaRae 
Poet-Mentor Educator and Lead for After-School Services
Learning Skills Counselor

 

Terri Grace
Poet-Mentor Educator
Learning Skills Counselor

Laura Andrews-Cook
Poet-Mentor Educator
Learning Skills Counselor