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Meet Bonnie Casson-Deweese

Bonnie Casson-DeweeseBonnie Casson-Deweese
Director of College Match, KIPP through College
KIPP Texas Public Schools-Houston
Co-Leader of the Public Charter Schools SIG

What drew you to the world of college counseling?
Like many of us in the world of college access, I fell into it. As a first-generation college student, I have always believed in the transformative power of higher education—having seen what it has done for me and my family. I began, like many colleagues, on the admission side, working at The University of Oklahoma and the University of St. Thomas-Houston (TX). Through my experience in admission, I knew that I wanted to make an impact on students much earlier and this is what drew me to KIPP as the founding director of college counseling at KIPP Generations Collegiate and eventually to my current regional role, overseeing college counseling in all of our high schools. I believe that education can transform the lives of students, families and communities and I take this very seriously.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Student are my why. They are what makes me advocate louder, push farther, and challenge systems of inequity on a day-to-day basis.

How did you get involved with the Public Charter Schools SIG?
Simply put, I saw a need (via e-mail) and I raised my hand.

Why is this SIG important to you?
Public charter schools have their own set of challenges and although charter climate is different in each and every city, how we approach the work is very similar. Moreover, it is easy within our own CMOs or individual schools to work in silos. I enjoy collaborating and providing a space where we can share best practices, learn from each other, and foster collective growth for our students and communities.

Why should counselors and admission professionals get involved with a NACAC SIG?
If you want something to change, you have to be the one to change it. Wishing and hoping for something to go away doesn’t make it happen. The collective power housed within NACAC has the potential to create expansive and powerful change, but in order to do that we need people to step up, collaborate, and learn from each other.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
Like many systems in our society, higher education is one that has its roots in inequity and oppression. I see this evidenced every day working with the students I serve in Houston. Higher education and the college counseling profession, in general, need to do more to combat these systems within our schools, communities, and world. Our students need opportunities, and until access to these opportunities is equitable, we will continue to promote the status quo.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I love cooking, reading, travel, and learning new languages. I have a very imaginative 6-year-old son who keeps me and my husband on our toes. I’ve also taken up running over the past two years and recently completed my first half-marathon!

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
If you know me, you know my love for the Harry Potter books. Without a doubt, I would be Hermione Granger. She is fearless, intelligent, fiercely independent, an advocate, and pretty much amazing. Plus, she can do magic, a talent I would be happy to use on a regular basis.

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