I taught writing and literature for around a dozen years at a community college in Tucson, Arizona. Then I went to Japan and taught English there for a year. I spent around ten years teaching high school at a couple charter schools in Tucson. Then I taught Head Start up in Alaska for three years, followed by three years as a special educator in Winooski, Vermont.
What is your philosophy as a teacher?
I believe in the foundational nature of relationships to education. It is up to us as teachers to ensure our students feel safe and respected, heard and valued. I want to show up with enthusiasm, humor, and patience. It is crucial that we model lifelong learning and a growth mindset. Turn the tables. Have our students teach us. Find ways to make them the experts, to relate learning to the world they live in.
What motivates you to be at Vertus? (what is your “why?")
Because schools have failed Rochester's children for far too long. Enough! The only way to a better and more equitable community begins right here, right now. I believe in the transformative power of education or I would not be sitting here writing this profile.
Who are you outside of Vertus?
I am a (most days) valued family member. I am (most days) a musician, and a (always) believer in the power of travel, reading, and the imagination. I am a (most days) born pep-talker/motivational speaker. I am a (very amateur) comedian. I am an everyday work in progress.
What is your motivational message for students, current or future?
Follow what draws your positive attention. Find ways to be present, to live in the moment. Make things, even if they have no obvious purpose. Create something: a story, a drawing, a song. Humans are meant to create. It's an important way that we teach ourselves what is important - what we need to remember or know or feel.