Hello! I am Katie Gipson-McLean and I am running for the Ward 3 seat on the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board in 2018. I was born and raised in East Phoenix, and my family still resides in the Perry Park area. My grandmother, parents, aunts and uncles, brother, and cousins all attended school in PUHSD.
I was the first in my family to attend college and I graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, Social Studies in 2009. I completed my student teaching at South Mountain High School. After college, I moved to Portland, Oregon with my husband, Reese.
During our time in Portland, Reese was a high school math teacher and I worked in various capacities in education and youth work. I worked for five years as a School Success Advocate where I facilitated extended day academic mentoring and tutoring programs and advocated for my students in small group, one-on-one, and classroom settings. I also served as a parent and school partner, and provided mediation, home visits, and crisis interventions. In my last two years, I helped develop and coordinate a new post-secondary preparation program at three different high schools.
While working as a School Success Advocate, I found other opportunities to grow and help others. I worked as an Educational Assistant in high school small business courses; served as a co-sponsor for the DECA Club; worked as a Title I Tutor at Pathfinder Academy (a school for pregnant and parenting youth), where I was responsible for developing and delivering the entire math curriculum; and worked as a tutor in Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes. Finally, each summer I was an instructor for the Leap Into 9th Grade Program, a summer enrichment program created to ease the middle to high school transition process.
Looking for a new opportunity to learn, grow, and gain new skills to continue to help others, I started law school at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon in 2014. Throughout law school I maintained my involvement in education and youth work through my work in high school mock trial programs and Street Law. During law school I interned at Maricopa County Public Defender, the Oregon Court of Appeals, The Oregon Innocence Project, the Willamette University Veterans Law Clinic, and at Metropolitan Public Defender. I graduated with my Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2017.
Service and volunteering have been important to me throughout my life. At various intervals since 2007, I have served more than six years on the National Board of Directors for my sorority, Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. I continue to volunteer my time both at my high school, and at various community service events.
Oregon was great, but wanting to be close to family again and in the city I love, Reese and I moved back home to Phoenix shortly after my graduation. My career path may have changed — I currently work at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office — but my time working in schools and in the community with youth and their families forever changed my life for the better and continues to inform all that I do.