SPECIAL EDUCATION ENGLISH is my focus. I am the MOTHER OF A YOUNG ADULT WHO WAS CLASSIFIED WITH SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES(LD)in second grade. As a parent and also as a SPECIAL EDUCATION ENGLISH TEACHER, I have watched LD children struggle to succeed. I have witnessed how their daily challenges impact their emotional well-being. I have also struggled to get past the defenses these students put up to protect their own fragile self images. As a teacher my goal is to give these students the tools they need to RAISE THEIR READING, WRITING, AND SPEAKING ABILITIES RATHER THAN LOWER THE COMPETENCY STANDARDS SET FOR THEM. Doing this requires two key elements. First, each lesson requires a motivational component. Teachers need to show students how the lesson will help them in life, or thought-provoking discussion must be used to capture students' attention. Second, learning materials must be designed to be flexible so that students may work independently at their own pace when necessary, freeing their teacher to move about the room working one-on-one with each student when necessary. I have completed twelve years of teaching at the secondary school level and plan on teaching many more. I also spent two years at a local college working as an instructional assistant for learning-disabled college students. In addition to teaching I maintain the SMARTSPARKS.NET WEBSITE.
I employ a variety of teaching methods depending on the content of the lesson or unit of instruction I am presenting. These include traditional lectures / notes, creative group projects, and individualized, technology based instruction. Knowing that a multisensory approach enhances learning, I record audio CDs so students can hear their vocabulary words and learn how to pronounce them. I write my own stories embedded with vocabulary words so students may use the words they have learned. I prepare powerpoint presentations that students may view independently on the two Apple iMac computers in my room.
I have served as a member of the Instructional Design Team at my high school, working under the guidance of the Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform. I have also served as a facilitator for professional day workshops within my school district. In 2007, I received a $2500.00 grant from Best Buy to purchase computer hardware and software for our special education department. That same school year I was nominated to represent my high school as a candidate for the 10th Legislative District's Excellence in Education Award.
I received my B.A. degree and certification in special education from Georgian Court University. Upon graduating college, I taught for six years until the birth of my first child. After an extended hiatus to raise my children, I returned to teaching as an instructional assistant at Georgian Court University's learning center, before taking a full-time position as a special education English teacher at a local high school.
In addition to teaching, I also spent time as both a corporate employee and small business owner. I have published a small, monthly paper entitled The Mother's Network, which was distributed in my local area. For several years I owned a graphic design company called Advantage Graphic Services. In the corporate arena, I served as a sales representative for Apple Computer's Educational Advantage and Campus Direct programs. All these experiences have allowed me to bring useful career information into my classroom as I work to prepare students for their eventual entrance into the workforce. In my spare time I enjoy reading, creative writing, acrylic painting, and gardening.