Frankie Mendoza is the Dean of Culture and Restorative Justice Coordinator at IDEA Public Schools in Austin, TX.
Listen to the episode here: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-imtzc-e10269
Frankie Mendoza is the Dean of Culture and Restorative Justice Coordinator at IDEA Public Schools in Austin, TX. (IDEA is a Charter school network out of Rio Grande Valley.) IDEA started as an after-school academy. His campus is in its 13th consecutive year of sending 100% of its seniors to college. IDEA has a “No Excuses” philosophy- students can succeed and achieve great things, no matter what neighborhood they’re from. He’s been in current school since 2016.
Tell me about how your experience in as a youngster in school led you into education and how that shapes your work with students? IDEA will take any kid (often who are 2-4 years behind in reading) and push them to the highest level. Frankie started in theater. He went to college to be actor. He found his niche of being teacher- in 2006 started as a teacher. Felt love for the struggles as he had a similar upbringing to many of kids at IDEA. When he was growing up, Daryl Fleming was his theater teacher. Didn’t look like him. Frankie was the only Latino. Frankie started showing up early to help build sets. He went on stage + acted and eventually got a scholarship.
When you were in the trenches as a youngster how did you crawl out? Frankie’s “Out of the Trenches”, story started as a youngster, was placed 3x’s within the school system. Couldn’t fail again. Was told by many high school counselors he wasn’t college material. Did go directly to college, dropped out 2-3 times, but surrounded himself by inspiring organizations. Went to Texas State, Joined Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Community service, gave back to youth. He started seeing that teaching was his “stage”. Taught at Gary Job Corps center, taught 16-24 young adults.
When did you find your niche with Restorative justice? He got into it in 2015, he started in Austin Achieve Schools, really fell in love with he reflective part. Come as you are. Found niche that it’s a practice that will help him grow as a person. Students gets short end of the stick. When got hired in ‘16 at current school, he brought it in. It was tough getting it started because school was 100% academics and rigor. He still had to teach, was able to do circles after/before school, clubs. Was pushing for social-emotional roles for deans since ‘17. He loved training teachers in restorative circles.
You can contact Frankie at Fransisco.firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn & his YouTube channel @FrankieMA. Frankie is open to talking to schools, on how to implement RJ.