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Becki Cohn-Vargas

Cohn-Vargas, Becki

Becki Cohn-Vargas, Ed.D works with educators to create identity safe classrooms and schools. As a consultant, she presents, writes, coaches, and produces films about bullying prevention, implicit bias, inclusion, compassion and belonging. She also leads environmental education groups to the Makengue Reserve in Nicaragua. Becki worked in educational settings for over 35 years as a teacher and administrator. Formerly, as Director of Not In Our School, she published the Identity Safe and Inclusive School Program, a comprehensive guide for creating identity safe secondary schools. She is the co-author with Dorothy Steele, Ed.D of Identity Safe Classrooms, Places to Belong and Learn. Her website, features additional blogs and films.


Dr. Cohn-Vargas began her career in early childhood education at the West Santa Rosa Multicultural Center in rural Sonoma County, California in 1975. She did community service in Central America in the Guatemalan Highlands and later in the Preschool Department of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education. She then returned to California and worked as a bilingual teacher and principal in Oakland, a Curriculum Director in the Palo Alto, and most recently as Superintendent-Principal of a one-school district in San Jose. She also worked as a staff developer for the Child Development Program Project of the Developmental Studies Center. In each of these settings, she focused on developing, implementing effective teaching strategies for diverse student populations and creating environments that promoted educational equity. In 2003, she learned of the research on identity safety with the SISP project and designed a follow-up study with a group of elementary school teachers. Her doctoral dissertation focused on identifying, describing, and implementing identity safety. 

Becki Cohn-Vargas received a Bachelor’s degree and teaching credential at Sonoma State University, a masters in education at California State University, East Bay and her doctorate at Fielding Graduate University. Dr, Cohn-Vargas and her husband live in El Sobrante, California and have three adult children living in the Bay Area. With her husband Rito Vargas, Dr. Cohn-Vargas leads groups of college students and educators on environmental studies trips to the Makengue Reserve, their private reserve in the Nicaraguan rain forest.