I am Dr. Denia Guadalupe Bradshaw and my pronouns are she/her/ella.
As an English learner, Latina, first-generation college student, and daughter to interracial parents, I have had distinguishing experiences throughout my life and education. As a result of these unique experiences, I have grown to be adaptable, flexible, and resilient and bring forth real-life training, experience, and insight to K-12 education and higher education.
My lifelong study of music and experience with my youngest brother has shaped me into becoming a distinctive professional and advocate that intentionally approaches music education, the performing arts, disability, and professional learning in higher education by embodying a philosophy that is person-centered, inclusive, and empowering. I strongly believe in collaboration and co-creation in the educational environment, and to get here a level of vulnerability that leads to trust is foundational.
My own struggles as an English learner and first generation college student and witnessing my brothers struggles as a student with diverse learning abilities and needs have profoundly influenced and informed me in the ways I approach education.
My praxis is about affirming the brilliance within every learner and that lens is informed by two major things: A) being very aware and vigilant as it relates to; misconceptions, the intersections of identity, stereotypes, and biases, and by B) striving to honor and empower the learner and their unique funds of knowledge from their trajectories, backgrounds, abilities, experiences, and identities.
My music experience led me to finding belonging in education, and that sense of community led me to opportunity and possibility, among those in secondary school experience include, being a Hall of Fame and a national John Phillip Sousa Band award recipient to playing with Sir James Galway, performing in an wind ensemble honor group that toured in seven European countries, and side-by-side orchestra concerts with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra. In college, I received multiple scholarships and awards due to my dedication, work ethic, and pursuit to excellence. I hold three degrees in music, those are; an Associates of Arts in Music from Long Beach City College (LBCC), a Bachelor of Music from California State University Northridge (CSUN), and a Master of Music from CSUN. Among the enriching experiences during that time included; playing alongside artists such as Monica Mancini and Arturo Sandoval; and doing studio work and recordings at multiple venues such as Capitol Records. After the completion of my Masters, I would go on to performing for president Jimmy Carter, performing with Sarah Jackson at the National Flute Association (NFA), becoming the the Winds Chair for the East San Fernando Valley branch for the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC); perform as a soloist with the Beverly Hills International Music Festival Orchestra and later with my Master teacher, David Shostac, in the Song of Angels and Flutesonic Orchestra, which includes recording in one of those groups as a soloist on the John Williams Scoring Stage; and lastly, to currently holding a position with the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra as second chair flute and as the flutist in the Xicano Winds quintet, a woodwind quintet dedicated to social justice by showcasing Latinx musicians in the community.
Due to my own experiences and narrative, which has often been considered divergent from the norm (or as I would like to refer to as "divergent from the status quo"), I have developed a passion to serving folks with diverse learning needs and backgrounds. This passion, along with my passion for long distance running, led me to getting involved with a non-profit called Train for Autism (T4A). T4A is comprised of athletes and a socially conscious community that is dedicated to raising awareness and raising funds for programs and centers doing dynamic work and research for those living with Autism and their families. My commitment to this cause would later guide me to earning my Doctorate in Education in 2020 from California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA). In the completion of my dissertation for my Ed.D., I focused and specialized my study and professional work on students with disabilities (specifically hidden disabilities) and applied the theoretical framework and practice of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
Early in my doctorate and given my own experiences and observations as a music major, I did research on music education and challenges music majors face in higher education. This remains a research topic that I value immensely, including the trajectory of musicians in places of leadership.
As I progressed in my doctoral candidacy, I pivoted and focused on access, inclusion, equity, and belonging for all students in higher education and throughout that journey came to learn and gain expertise in UDL and other beneficial frameworks such as culturally-relevant pedagogy, DisCrit (Disability Critical Race Theory) and Intersectionality. Further understanding the social-emotional value of learning, I became certified as a Mindfulness Without Borders Facilitator. Since then, I have presented at conferences, such as; the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED), the California Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (CA-NAME), NASPA’s Southern California Careers in Student Affairs Day (SCCSAD), and the Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (UDLHE) Digicon. I too, have been invited to present to faculty at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and the University of La Verne; for an international audience at the UDL-Implementation and Research Network and Learn Series Webinar; and to guest lecture at Cal State LA to graduate and doctoral students in educational leadership. Additionally, I have served as the UDL Project Coordinator at North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE) at the North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) and as a UDL, Accessible Technology, and Educational Consultant and Facilitator. Furthermore, I have been published and peer-reviewed in the Journal for Higher Education Theory and Practice (JHETP) and have a book chapter entitled "Latinx Families and Disability: The Intersections of Identity, Experiences, and Siblinghood" that was released In C. O’ Brien, W. R. Black, & A. B. Danzig's Who Decides? Power, Disability, and Education Administration early 2022.
I currently work full time serving the students, faculty, and staff as the Department Coordinator in the Music Department at California State University, Los Angeles. I also teach part-time as a lecturer at the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training. These two institutions are very meaningful to me. One, I graduated with my Doctorate in Education and I give back to music students in the California State University (CSU); and the other institution is one I have admired for years, as it serves and honors many of the folks I advocate for.
From my childhood days learning music, to then teaching music and seeing that same magic in my students first-hand, to later witnessing marginalization and othering in education from the lens of an older sister, followed by advocacy and a doctorate, and succeeded by facilitating lectures, presentations, and trainings for faculty and staff - my trajectory and narrative is far from traditional, however, it is rich in scope as it comprised of struggle, finding belonging and community, advocacy, and a belief that change is possible.