Since 1997, I have been teaching full-time, with most of those years in 4th and 5th grades. I have team taught with special education teachers using an inclusion model and have completed professional development on teaching students with dyslexia. For most of my career, I taught a self-contained class and thoroughly enjoyed integrating all subjects and having flexibility with how much time I spent on each one. For three years, I moved to departmentalized position in 5th grade and taught reading, writing, and U.S. history. I also spent a year teaching 4th grade in a STEAM focused school and learned so much about integrating technology with the core curriculum.
The books I have read by inspiring teacher/authors have influenced my teaching style more than anything else. Nancie Atwell, Linda Rief, Stephanie Harvey, and Kylene Beers top my long list of favorites! My goal each year is to create a positive learning environment based on a reading/writing workshop model. While I am a detailed lesson plan writer, I am also constantly changing those plans as I observe my students and adapt activities, groupings, and strategies to meet their needs and interests.
• HEB Excellence in Education Finalist, 2006 • Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year, 2006 • Langford Elementary,Teacher of the Year, 2003 • Austin Area II Elementary Teacher of the Year, 2003
I earned a Bachelor's degree in English from Montclair State University in New Jersey and my Master's of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. Since then, I have taken many wonderful professional education classes such as Austin's year long Teacher Leadership program and Austin's National Board cohort group. The latter led to my earning my National Board certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist in 2004 (renewed 2014). I have also participated in several excellent programs which led to my becoming a trainer in these diverse areas: Sally Ride Science Academy, Assessment for Learning, and New Jersey Writing Project in Texas (currently Abydos Learning)
Over my teaching career, I led professional development classes for teachers on all aspects of language arts and reading, math instruction, and science. I have written curriculum materials for Austin ISD's math department and the ELA department. I spent many years working with the Austin Literary Academy as a curriculum writer and trainer. I was also a "Demonstration Classroom" for AISD which means teachers can view videos of selected lessons from my class online to earn professional development credit. They could also set up appointments to visit, observe, and then debrief with me. For fun at school, I taught an after school Shakespeare Club that is part of the University of Texas Shakespeare Outreach Program. In June 2017 I retired from classroom teaching. My focus now is on writing children's literature and on formatting the many classroom materials I created over the past twenty years so that other teachers can use them. I am also having a great time reading, going to Zumba, sewing, traveling, and just spending time with my family!!