Oh, so you’ve decided to learn a little bit more about me, eh?
I have a big family! I have an amazing husband, Kevin, who keeps me happy and sane and makes life one big, fun, roller coaster ride. My sons – all five of them – keep life far from boring. Every day is an adventure. My three sons are 19, 21 and 23. My stepsons are 21 and 23. Then there are my sisters, brothers, parents, in-laws, nieces and nephews who I hold very dear. My husband, my siblings and I are all graduates and fans of the University of Michigan … Go Blue!
I enjoy reading books of all kinds and always have a few by my bedside to pick up when the urge hits … especially if it’s a new Janet Evanovich novel! I like to be active outdoors, playing in the snow, gardening, taking walks, or enjoying the water up north.
My favorite place on earth is Higgins Lake, about two hours north of Lansing. I have been taking trips to the family cottage there my whole life. It’s the place where my family gets out the instruments and plays music until all hours at the bonfire or on the front porch. It’s the place where I recharge and truly relax. It’s the place where I stay connected to those I love. In my view, it’s paradise.
I am a special education reading teacher and literacy coach for the teachers in my district. I got my start at the University of Michigan School of Education with my elementary education degree. I ventured into the world of special education with my Master’s Degree in Emotional Impairment. I taught in a classroom for middle school students with emotional impairments, and then taught in a resource room at the high school level. Eventually I ended up at the elementary level teaching resource students in the area of reading for 26 years. Now I am back to teaching middle school and absolutely love it!
Part of my day is spent teaching reading and writing to 7th and 8th graders. I am also the district’s literacy coach. I provide teacher training and support throughout the school year to our special education (and a few general education) teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Our elementary special education teachers use the Language! program to teach and reinforce basic reading skills for our students. We also use the Autoskills Academy of Reading and the Reading Assistant computer programs, as well as REWARDS and Phonics for Reading (watch my video to learn about each of the programs). Our middle and high school teachers use the Language! Live program. It is my passion to help teachers be as effective as they can be so that our students succeed.
Our district has seen a dramatic improvement in student reading scores in the past 5 years. We have more students exiting special education than we have ever had before. Our goal is to give our students the skills they need to make it on their own, minimizing or eliminating the support as they can handle it. I hope to continue my job in this manner to keep the momentum going!
Recently I was voted “Educator of the Year” by the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce. What an honor this was for me professionally but, more importantly, I attribute my successes to the great team of teachers I work with each day. It’s a blessing and a privilege to work with these amazing people. [Newspaper clipping and some videos here]
In addition, I was ranked by the Teacher Certification Degrees Website as the 22nd most influential elementary school teacher on Twitter (yes, that’s all of the Twitterverse!). I currently have 2,581 followers.
And…to top it all off, my website recently won 2nd place (in the world!) for Best Use of Video in Education by The Edublog Awards.
It’s been a great ride so far, and there are so many things I have yet to do!