Returning to Portland after living abroad for several years, Ari is grateful to have landed at Oregon Campus Compact. ORCC ‘s mission to activate higher education for a more just and equitable society is deeply meaningful and important work that Ari is thrilled to be a part of.
Ari is passionate about working with national service programs because a national service program changed his own life. In 2003 Teach For America placed Ari in New Orleans to teach 5th grade language arts and social studies in an underperforming school in one of the poorest school districts in the country.
These were the early days of No Child Left Behind, so schools lived or died by high stakes testing and his school was no different. He was required to teach for the test, drilling the students with endless stacks of handouts and pushing them through textbooks filled with content that had little relevance to their lives.
It was a formative experience that exposed him to the challenges of generational poverty and institutional racism as well the shortcomings of classroom based standardized textbook-driven education.
As a result of his experiences in TFA, Ari next sought out alternative education programs that were more student-focused and experience based, and he has spent the last 10 years working for such programs. During this time he was fortunate to work for great organizations such as Open Meadow Schools, Carpe Diem Education and the Pangaea Project.
Whether helping students to form their postsecondary plans, present their views to the city mayor, or participate in service-learning projects at home or abroad, Ari has thoroughly enjoyed his experiences advocating for youth and looks forward to continuing that work at ORCC.