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Owning Our Own Stories

“Children need to know we believe in them,” Nury Castillo Crawford said when she was named Executive Director of Alternative Schools & Innovation for the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). “It’s very important in this role to ensure students aren’t defined by the worst mistake they’ve ever made in their young lives.”

The national award-winning educational leader and speaker was a guest on the Latino News Network podcast, “3 Questions With…” Castillo Crawford was candid about the challenges she faced as an immigrant child. “My lack of proficiency in the English language does not determine my intelligence level or my potential,” she said.

A native of Peru, she witnessed the challenges her parents had to navigate in the public school system. “I am passionate about advocating for equity, and ensuring bicultural and biliterate children find power in who they are, and the unique gifts they bring to the table.”

At the same time, Castillo Crawford says adults need to be accountable to support educators. “Every single day, I want to be the adult I needed when I was their age,” she said.

Her experiences helped shape her advocacy in championing students to write their own narrative. “My favorite quote is ‘she believed she could, so she did,’” Castillo Crawford said. “It’s so simple but so powerful.”

Publisher’s Notes: Do you have a suggestion for a thought leader we should invite on the “3 Questions With…” podcast? Email us at

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