“The thinking machine will not be quiet.” ~Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912)
I obtained an English degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After being accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows, I obtained a Masters of Science in Teaching from Pace University, with an Emphasis on Teaching Students with Disabilities. Having a degree in both special and general education truly informed my desire to provide authentic educational instruction to all students, no matter how varied or differentiated. I taught in a specialized district for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in New York City for 4 years. I also had the privilege to support families and young children diagnosed with Autism by using the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) approach, teaching social, motor, and verbal behaviors as well as reasoning skills. My years as an ABA Therapist inspired me personally and professionally, as I learned that the window of opportunity rarely closes for a child, but someone might need to help keep that window open. I began to think of my job as “keeping the window open.” I also realized the true power of communication, and constantly strive to help all children find their voice, however that might look. During my last year in New York City, I also worked as an Educational Therapist, providing one-on-one, multi-sensory tutoring that was individualized according to the needs of each student, grades K-8. The focus was teaching students fundamental skills, including reading, writing, reading comprehension, math, study strategies, focus, and motivation. I also volunteered at the Brooklyn Free School where I learned freedom and democracy are not just textbook concepts-but a way of living and learning-for our children as well as ourselves.
After moving to Portland, I became an Autism Specialist with Columbia Regional Program through Portland Public Schools for two years. Children with ASD are like many children, in that they learn best when ideas are presented in a meaningful way. I moved over to Trillium in 2011, and bring many years supporting students with disabilities and coaching educators. Education should not involve one person acting on another, but rather educators and children working with each other. Authentic collaboration is essential for extraordinary learning for teachers and students. I aim to nurture and empower all of my students.
“Education is freedom” – Paulo Freire
I was born on the tiny, big island of Singapore and raised as a third culture kid for most of life travelling from country to country and city to city. What this instilled in me is a very deep wanderlust that has remained with me to this day. After I graduated from the University of Scranton (Yes, the Office.) with a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Special Education, I moved to sunny South Florida where I taught at a private boarding school as a special educator. While I loved Florida, the travelling bug bit once again and I moved to D.C. where I also went to Johns Hopkins to work on another M.S. in Literacy that would also lead into a Ph.D. What this really led to was a recruitment from the T3 Network to work for the city of Boston in turning around its failing schools as a Teach Plus Leader. (Did I mention that I like to travel?) What finally led me to Portland was an overnight stay in the city as I was travelling to Juneau to visit my parents who live in Alaska. I instantly fell in love with the weird culture and vibe, and I knew that I had to move to this amazingly quirky place. So I did!