I began teaching more than twenty years ago and have taught special and general education classes, at the elementary and secondary levels. Currently I serve as a special education program specialist in a public school district, providing consultation support to both special and general education teachers of students with special needs. As a consultant I spend much of my time assisting our teachers to implement positive behavior supports within their classrooms in order to meet the needs of all of their students, but particularly those who demonstrate significant social, emotional and behavioral challenges.
I recently read an obituary of one of my mother's old friends, who had served as a high school administrator for many years. In it, she was quoted as having once said, "there are no problem students, just students with problems." That struck a chord in me, and it made me wish I had said it first. I have many gurus, but at the top of my list is Diana Browning Wright (Co-founder, Positive Environments, Network of Trainers), who has said, "No teaching strategy or intervention will result in high student achievement if a teacher doesn't genuinely care about the student and the student believes that." I wish I had said that too. In my work I regularly present staff development workshops. When I do I usually find a way to include in my presentation two statements that describe what I think are the most effective strategies for ensuring positive educational outcomes for all students: 1. Don't assume students know how we want them to behave. We must label the behavior and teach it; and, 2. If we don't reinforce the behavior we want to see when we see it, we may rarely see it.
I am certified as a Behavior Intervention Case Manager, or BICM, in the state of California. State regulations require that an IEP team be supported by a BICM when developing a positive behavior intervention plan (PBIP). In addition to laying out guidelines for reinforcing positive behaviors and assigning consequences for misbehavior, a PBIP must also outline a plan for teaching replacement behaviors to the student.
In addition to both a single subject and special education teaching credential, I earned a Bachelor's Degree as well as a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology from Loyola Marymount University.
I think teaching is in my blood. I come from a long line of teachers and married an educator. Joe and I have three kids and I am ridiculously proud of them. Stephanie, my oldest, is continuing the family tradition, having been accepted to graduate school to study speech pathology. My son Tyler and youngest daughter Riley are each currently attending the University of California. Along with Kirby, our golden retriever, and Kizzy, our cat, Joe and I are adjusting exceedingly well to our empty nest.