Dr. Abby Javurek Andres

Cues and Views

Change catalyst Dr. Abby Andres, in brief.

Dr. Abby Javurek Andres

Home: Scappoose/Portland, OR.  Age: Young at heart and still dreaming about what is possible. Birthplace: Deadwood, SD.  The real “old-west”.  Profession: Innovation, education advocacy, assessment, social policy.  Pronouns: She/Her/Ella.  Alma mater: University of South Dakota (Ph.D., Political Science); New Mexico State (Post-Masters, Systems Engineering; M.S., Industrial Engineering; M.A., Sociology).

Recent professional development: Equity Meets Design training.  Really thinking hard, learning and practicing leadership that empowers team members to bring their best to the work, fall in love with the problems and put the people most proximate to those problems at the center of dreaming big to move systems forward.  Latest accomplishment: November 2022 publication of my article Theory of action: The care and feeding of your missionWhat’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Leaving a high-ranking position in state government and moving cross country with my family to take a new job creating a vision for what's possible in the education technology space.  Hobbies: Running (slowly), playing pinball, making furniture for my home with my husband.  Recent travel or adventure: Swimming in cenotes in central Mexico with an eco-tour group.  Recently viewed and recommended: Finally getting around to watching The Wire.  Recent unique acquisition: Full sets of Labyrinth and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Funko Pops.  Living Space: A labor-of-love, self-remodeled home for me and my husband, my parents, our 17-year-old pound puppy and, occasionally, our two adult kiddos.

What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Motivated.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Aligned goals, earned trust, mutual can-do attitudes.  What is your greatest joy? Watching my children thrive as they begin embracing adulthood.  What is your guilty pleasure? Snuggling in on the couch with a cup of tea and binging sci-fi (especially Doctor Who).  What word or phrase do you use far too often? Amazing!  What natural talent have you neglected? I am a classically trained flute player who doesn’t get back to playing nearly as often as I would like.  What is your go-to workout? A 5K to 10K run along the Portland waterfront while the sun is rising.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Getting off the beaten path and trying local cuisine.

What was your first paying job? Cleaning trailers at a fishing camp/resort for fishermen in the off-season.  What book have you repeatedly read? The Stand, by Stephen King.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Labyrinth.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? A giant sticker of a “cosmic unicorn” breaking through a wall; a surprise gift from a colleague.  What’s the best advice you received growing up? There is something to learn from everyone you meet in the world. What’s the best advice you received in your career? If you know your stuff, there is never reason to worry.  What is your favorite app? Kindle.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Time spent in nature, especially near running water. 

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? 

Creating systems for learning that provide all students (and educators) with valuable information about what they know, what they can do and how best to challenge themselves next.  Designed to celebrate the diversity of each student’s lived experiences and unique capabilities.

What change would you like to see in the world? Every child having access to an education that helps them unlock their superpower and find potential they didn’t even know they had.  What message do you want to send out into the world? We should never be comfortable with the status-quo; there is always another dream to dream.  What widely held belief do you reject? That a one-size-fits-all education is ever appropriate for students.  What mega-trend most concerns you? Binary thinking, e.g., us vs. them, right vs. wrong, worthy vs. unworthy.  Everyone has worth, and diversity in thinking is a good thing. 

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Too Stubborn to Fail.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A flute player in a John Williams orchestra. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? A glass bowl my husband and I made together for one of our first Valentine’s Days.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? An early morning hike with my husband; brunch out with our kids and my parents; later, cooking a gourmet meal with my husband and falling asleep under the stars.  What advice would you give your younger self? You know your value, don’t be afraid to set clear boundaries with those who can’t see it.  What day in your life would you choose to re-live? A summer day in college staring with a hike and cliff-diving with friends, followed by a homemade lasagna making party, then miniature golf and karaoke, and finally, a late night by a lake eating ice cream.  Possibly the most simple, joyful, innocent, perfect day ever.

Personal mission: Transforming systems that limit human potential and helping others create conditions to enact meaningful change that challenges the status-quo in order to creates a more just and inclusive world for everyone.  Personal motto: Walk with purpose, speak what’s true.  Favorite quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” (Nelson Mandela).  Desired epitaph: She lived every moment.

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