In 1987, my husband and I moved to Chelan with plans to continue his family tradition of farming apples and pears. At that point, we had both finished our college degrees from Washington State University and were ready to settle into our careers, mine as a dietitian and his as a farmer. I worked as a dietitian from 1987 to 1994, when my second daughter was born and I was able to stay at home with our children.
Now, three children and several years later, we are a busy family with children in music, sports, and 4-H. My hobbies and interests seem to center around children’s activities, although I also enjoy all forms of exercise, reading, playing at the lake, and cooking. My husband has continued working the farm and we are fortunate to live on one of our orchards, only five minutes from town; truly we have the best of country living with all the conveniences of town nearby.
My teaching experience initially began as a volunteer in my daughters’ classrooms. During those years of assisting in classroom activities, it became evident to me and others that I had a gift, not only for interacting with the students, but also for educating them. The enjoyment I felt in the classroom led me to consider a career in teaching.
In 2002, I was able to begin my formal career as a teacher in an early childhood setting at Chelan Valley Independent School. I was the head teacher of the preschool program for two years and then began teaching at the primary level. Finding a thrill in the student interactions, challenges, and discoveries, I decided to enter the post-baccalaureate teachers program at Western Governors University and finished the program in December, 2007. As a person who loves practical learning, it was a rewarding privilege to be in the classroom teaching while pursuing my credentials. I was able to apply new knowledge and skills on a daily basis. Since getting my certification for K-8 classroom instruction, I have enjoyed working with our kindergarten through third grade students in all subject areas.
A special area of interest to me is the complex arena of instructing students with reading struggles. This is due, in large part, to having a teenage son with severe dyslexia. From preschool on, his challenges were evident and spurned me on to learn everything possible about reading and language development. While I enjoy working with struggling readers, I also love teaching reading and writing to children of all ages and all abilities. I especially love our reader’s and writer’s workshop where we implement the highly respected and acclaimed Lucy Calkin’s curricula.
In addition to an expertise in reading instruction, my ability to synthesize new information and appropriately apply it is a strength that helps me promote measurable learning in students. Other attributes that make me an effective teacher include being able to recognize and understand learning styles and environmental factors that affect learning, a careful consideration for developmental readiness coupled with a responsible attitude towards educational standards, a firm belief that all students can learn, and a flexible nature that collaborates well with co-workers and can adjust to classroom and individual student needs.