Jamilia Gates – Community Schools Director

          “My greatest experience as a student was the opportunity I had to serve as the graduate assistant for Student Affairs.”

          BTB Gates1

          Graduate Assistant for Student Affairs

          In 2016, the Erie School District and United Way partnered to pilot a new Community School initiative at five city schools, reorganizing district and city resources in a way to better provide for Erie's public school students. The district describes the purpose of the initiative as making schools “become centers of the community, open to everyone, all day, every day, evenings and weekends.”

          I was hired for the position a day before my graduate school graduation.

          At East Middle School, we are partnered with UPMC Hamot Health Foundation and Safe Harbor Behavioral Health. Much of my job includes realigning resources and implementing programs and activities that meet the needs of students, families, school staff and the surrounding community of East.

          It’s absolutely an honor to be serving my community in this role, being a native of Erie and to have lived through similar situations our students experience every day. It’s a great feeling to know I am setting an example as being from the same neighborhoods as the students and having some impact on them.

          When I started graduate school at Edinboro, I wasn’t totally sure what kind of career move I wanted to make, but I knew college counseling fit me. My greatest experience as a student was the opportunity I had to serve as the graduate assistant for Student Affairs.

          Dr. Kahan Sablo, former vice president of Student Affairs at Edinboro, was my greatest mentor. He challenged and pushed me to do my best. He gave me the responsibility of running the Multicultural Office, now known as the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. He let me make mistakes and correct them in this role. He gave me autonomy to plan programs and be creative. For two years, I ran the office with no extra staff, and I deeply appreciate that because it prepared me to be the Community Schools Director today.

          And because of that experience at Edinboro, my future plans include working in higher education, because it is there where I found out what I truly had to offer.