’85, '01, Teacher Quality Liaison for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa school district and 2013 Teacher of the Year
I attended public school in Cedar Rapids and graduated from CR Jefferson in 1985. I went to the University of Northern Iowa and earned a BA in elementary education with an emphasis in early childhood. After graduating from UNI, my roommate and I decided to try teaching in Australia - didn't really work out but was a great experience in my education background. I started subbing the following year in Cedar Rapids and then got a .5 job teaching Alternative Kindergarten and was also coaching HS volleyball at the time. My program was moved to a different school, Jackson Elementary. It was being reopened. This was another great opportunity as I was placed with many fantastic teachers who mentored me. When I started teaching there was not a Mentoring and Induction program so I learned from everyone. After a couple of years our school grew and I was able to move into a full time kindergarten position and that is where I stayed for 20 years. In 1996, I earned a Fulbright Scholarship and the opportunity to teach oversees in Brighton England as part of an exchange program.
In 2001, I earned my Masters in Educational Technology at UNI and I achieved National Board Certification in 2006. I had just started a new teacher leadership position with our school district when I was announced as Iowa’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.
My parents still live in Cedar Rapids and so does my family. My husband of 13 years, Jim, works at Rockwell Collins and both of our kids attend school in Cedar Rapids. My daughter, Kai, attends 6th grade at Taft Middle School and my son, Cam, attends 4th grade at Jackson School. They both went to Jackson when I taught there, so I have a special relationship with those teachers, as they have been my colleagues and my kids’ teachers. I consider the Jackson staff part of my family.
I loved teaching kindergarten students. They have a natural love of learning and they fill every day with something new and exciting. It was hard to leave the classroom but now I have the opportunity to help teachers and in turn make a difference in even more students’ lives.