State and City of Residence:
Director, Heritage Park High School, grades 10-12, formerly math teacher/staff developer
Why do you work in education?
I work in education to be a change agent for the future. My teachers have always inspired me and I wanted to be a role model for others as well. I wanted to help students learn and fully understand the importance of being lifelong learners. I knew that meant I had to develop many strategies because one method may not be the perfect fit for all. I want to be a voice for others and to advocate for those who do not know how or do not have anyone that will advocate for them.
Tell us about something that you have done in education that you feel has made or will make a big difference for your community?
There are many things that I am involved in, but the growth and awareness in the students I work with at my school are my best example of how I am making a difference in my community. The redesign and rebranding of the district's alternative high school to a nontraditional high school has been my most impactful initiative right now. Changes that I have led at the school have included an application and acceptance process, project based learning, cross content pairings, character development, and community outreach throughout the year. We have noticed that parental involvement has increased, the student's scores on the Quality Core End of Course exams has increased, the discipline referrals are decreasing and the students and staff state that they are happy and can physically feel the change of the culture.
What’s your favorite part about being an America Achieves Fellow?
I appreciate the networking and resources that are available when working with such a large group of educational catalysts from across the nation. The convenings are wonderful and I gain a wealth of information every time the Fellowship comes together to share what Fellows are doing in their schools and communities. The friendships I have made are priceless and the group is so large that I meet new friends at every gathering.
If you could change just one thing about our current education system, what would it be?
It's really difficult to limit this to just one thing. My sons wanted me to choose school lunches and my band director husband chimed in with professional respect from the community. The thing is, I think being able to educate everyone - general public, parents, educators, administrators, politicians, etc. on the full spectrum of the Common Core State Standards would be a wonderful change. If I could have everyone in the nation experience the Core Advocate training that I have been through, I really think we would be in a better place in our current education system. It really puts thing into perspective while debunking many of the myths, rumors, and lies that have been spread about the standards.
If a song played every time you walked into a room, what would that song be?
It depends. I really like movie songs and I would say "The Imperial March" (Darth Vader's theme) from Star Wars especially since I am now an administrator and have crossed to the dark side so to say. However, if it is an actual song, even though there could be many, I would choose "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood for most days.
What’s the best thing a student ever said to you?
Thank you for showing me that math is everywhere. I still don't like it, but I know how to do it.
What’s your dream vacation?
An Alaskan cruise with my family.
What is one fun fact that most people don’t know about you?
I only drive sporty black two-door cars.
What is your other favorite thing to do (besides education, or course!)?
Spend time with my boys outdoors camping, fishing and hiking.
What is one book every educator must read?
Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People