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Born and raised in Southeast Portland and I have essentially lived in the same neighborhood from Kindergarten through college. I was lucky enough to graduate high school with friends who were in the same Kindergarten class with me. I lived in a cul-de-sac filled with young families and spent summers creating backyard shows with singing and dancing, holding our own Rose Festival complete with Rose Princess pulled around in a Radio Flyer, and playing a souped up version of hide and go seek called “SPIES!”. This kind of freedom to create and play, instilled in me a sense of how important the power of play is.
I didn’t always want to be a teacher. Travel agent, historian (ala Shelby Foote), and movie critic were at the top of my list while I was trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do. While I was an administrative assistant in a car audio factory, I finally decided it was time I go back to school. In 2000, I recieved a B.S. in Human Development with an ECE minor from Warner Pacific College. My first teaching job was at CityKids Child Development (a division of Joyful Noise Child Development Centers) where I was a Lead Teacher in the Young Preschool classroom. There I really learned to be patient and marveled at the learning and triumphs of children 2-3 years old, such as learning how to spear food using a fork, how to use the potty, and how to put socks on.
The next few years I honed my craft teaching at a variety of schools. I moved to Las Vegas and taught third and first grade and then I moved back to Portland and taught kindergarten part-time for two years, as well as working for Student Support Services in the North Clackamas School District. Finally, I decided to move back to Las Vegas to have a more consistent teaching experience and was lucky enough to be hired at Eileen B. Brookman Elementary School where I taught first grade for 5 years while going back to school and getting a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction: Arts Integrated into the Curriculum from Lesley University and a Masters in Early Childhood and Special Education from University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). My last year of teaching at Brookman I taught Early Childhood Special Education for 3, 4, and 5 year olds. I was at Brookman for six years and was able to see children that I taught in first grade graduate and go on to middle school. I was able to establish relationships with families and teach siblings and cousins, and that experience of creating a family at a school has been one of the highlights of my career. However, I always longed to come back home and in 2011 I returned to Portland and back to my first employer Joyful Noise Child Development Center where I was a teacher in the Toddler Classroom. I then transferred to the Lloyd Center Joyful Noise where I was asked to take over the Older Preschool Classroom this past June.
When I was offered the Kindergarten position at Trillium I was very excited at the prospect of teaching in a democratic school. I feel like I am finally able to marry what I know and believe about child development and how children learn best, and that my experience and beliefs are not only valued, but shared by the school community at large. My goal for kindergarten this year is not only to teach children the skills they will need to prepare them for first grade and become life-long learners, but to create a sense community and memories that will stay with them the rest of their lives.