Naoko Akiyama(she/her) intended to go to medical school, but a detour into teaching became a permanent and joyful journey of nearly 30 years as an educator. The experience at KSI ‘95 and her years at the Urban School of San Francisco served to solidify her commitment to the craft of teaching and cement a deep love of the learning journey that a teacher embarks on with her students. She has taught mathematics at the middle and upper school levels, and through the years has taken on numerous positions as a grade-level dean, dean of community life, dean of equity and inclusion, and dean of students. She and her partner have built a life in Oakland, CA with two multiracial children, the best dog, and four chickens. Currently, she is serving as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice at the Athenian School, where she finds joy collaborating with her colleagues to continue building more equitable systems, a more connected community, and a genuine sense of belonging for every human being.