You are a global woman who cares deeply about people from all cultures. How did this interest and appreciation for diversity develop within you?
As a young girl I was actually quite shy and introverted. I learned the hard way that sometimes when you present as fearful you become a target of bullying. I recall mean things being said about me and to my face by people who knew very little about me. As I matured, I knew that one of my goals in life was to be a teacher and to help protect others from being made to feel insignificant. Those early feelings of uncertainty about myself and my identity led me to learn the value in reaching out to get to know people and be curious about their lives. While I still want to ensure safety for others, I am more determined to support their journey to find self-worth and value.
How does your work at TGR Foundation further your personal goals for inclusion, access and equity?
The vision of TGR Foundation is grounded in the principles of inclusivity, access and equity. We know that opportunity is not universal, but we hope to change that. All of the educational programs we offer are designed to facilitate access for all of our stakeholders - students, teachers, families and the community.
You will be leading a main stage panel at GlobalMindED this June entitled: Creating Unlikely Partnerships to Close the Equity Gap. What made you think of that title and why are those partnerships so important to reach uncommon and much needed results?
Developing an innovative culture requires that we learn to work with and adapt to changing conditions. As we partner with organizations that seemingly don't "fit", it creates an opportunity for conversation, reflection and ultimately the creation of something amazing. On a basic level, the world continues to change, so staying in the status quo inhibits growth and creativity. It is in everyone's best interest to seek unlikely partnerships to remain viable and produce the greatest impact.
During this International Week of Women, what is one wish you hold most for all women?
One wish I have for women around the world is for them to seek every opportunity to lift one another up. In a world where women still struggle for equity it is most important that we make a point to celebrate our achievements and those of others. Take time to not only mentor other women but also be an advocate on their behalf.
Prior to joining TGR Foundation, Dr. Bihr was the principal of Vista View Middle School in Fountain Valley, CA. She is the 2019 Chair of the STEM Funders Network; a national organization providing resources and professional learning to help teachers, parents, and out-of-school providers to better inspire and prepare youth in STEM. She also serves on the board of directors for Project Tomorrow, which supports the innovative use of science, math, and technology resources in K-12 schools and communities. In addition, she serves as adjunct faculty for the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.
Meet Katherine in person June 6-8 at GlobalMindED as she leads the panel -
The Future of Work is Collaborative: Unlikely Partnerships Closing the Equity Gap.