I am a Portland native and grew up in Southeast Portland in the Woodstock neighborhood. In fact, I never really left because I purchased a home six blocks from where I grew up. I am very close with my family and I could not imagine living very far from home. I grew up in a single family home and my Mom worked so hard my whole life to help me and my three siblings with our educations. My older sister is developmentally disabled and also deaf and mute. She lived at home until just this last year, and having her in my life is what led me to be interested in education. She was my first student, and I spent a lot of my childhood playing school, teaching her how to write and use sign language. I almost decided to major in special education, but my passion for art always was an important focus in my life. That is why I decided to become an art educator. It really is the best of both worlds because I love helping students discover their own passions, whether it is art related or not. I have lived and studied art in Portland almost my entire life, except for some graduate work in San Francisco at the Academy of Art. I received my Bachelors degree in Art (Drawing, Painting and Printmaking) in 1998 and my Masters in Education in 2004 from Portland State University. During this time I also painted murals for children’s spaces and taught art part time so I could spend more time with my girls, Gabriella (5) and Mariana (2).I have been teaching art for the past 12 years and I have taught at almost all levels including preschool. I spent 7 of those years teaching art to middle school students in the Forest Grove and David Douglas school districts. I am very excited to share my accumulated knowledge and experience with my new students here at Trillium.