Dr. Van Truong was born in South Vietnam and began her migration to the United States in April of 1975, the last day of the fall of Saigon. Truong in her time in Portland has become an influential leader of the Portland Metropolitan community as well as the Vietnamese community through her role as an educator in Portland Public schools. Truong began her career in Portland Public Schools as a classified staff and realized how important role modeling is to the students. She went back to school while working and raising four children. She loved her job as a teacher but realize that the system needs changes and being an administrator, would allow her to make broader decisions to serve the students. Dr. Truong was building principals at middle and high schools in PPS before she joined the central administration office as ESL Director, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning and Interim Assistant Superintendent. Her list of accomplishments is long, including reforming ESL program to meet Office of Civil rights compliances, closing the opportunity gap, and increasing high school graduation rate, revamping curriculum and pedagogy to be culturally relevant, but her proudest project still is starting the Vietnamese Dual Language in Portland Public Schools which is now in its 6th year.

Dr. Truong is now retired from PPS, but is still very involved in education, working with PSU and OSU. She is currently on three non-profit boards that are focused on equity of access for the communities of color. In this interview Truong discusses her personal evolution while living in Portland. She first discusses coming to America and how she struggled with the language and culture of the United States. She reminisces on her time at Halsey Square where they first lived upon arrival to Portland. She goes on to discuss how she became such an integral part of the Portland Public Schools, and how she had to overcome adversity in the workplace. Truong also discusses why it was important for her to obtain her doctorate. For people of color, you have to work three times as hard to least be considered as equal and sometimes, therefore the title gives you instant permission that may be we are smart. She ends the interview by discussing the importance of equity and equity training in the Public Schools, and her role in facilitating these important discussions.