What is my why / philosophy about schools? I come from very humble beginnings where my siblings and I experienced many nights without electricity, water and food. To make matters worse, near the end of high school we were homeless. Things were the toughest for my siblings when I went away to college at Valparaiso University in Indiana. So much so that my youngest brother Gilbert was on the verge of dropping out of high school. His dire situation compelled me to go home in the middle of my second year of college, obtain custody of him and bring him back to school with me. Upon enrolling him at the local high school, I realized that he was reading at the 4th grade level as a sophomore and I endured the pessimistic perspectives that many of his teachers had about his aspirations of going to college. As a result of my experiences with him, I was inspired to become a principal to advocate for students like my brother who come from non-traditional situations. Over the course of my 12-year journey as a school administrator, I have come to understand that all students and staff members can benefit from a school environment rooted in C.A.R.E. (Committed Authentic Relationships for Everyone). This is a philosophy that I first developed as I worked with my first student, my brother Gilbert. I believe that my students must not only know that I believe in them but they also have to know that they matter, have permission to be their true selves and most importantly, that I love them. Simply put, I believe that schools that focus on academic excellence while also attending to the purest humanity of students and staff achieve meaningful success that can be sustainable beyond the walls of the school.