I taught for thirty-six years at San Lorenzo Middle School in King City, California. I taught a self-contained 5th grade class for eleven of those years. I taught all middle school grades for twenty-five years, focusing mainly on 8th grade U.S History and Language Arts. Since my retirement, I've substituted at all levels and in many disciplines, including instrumental music.
I retired from full time teaching seven years ago and am a writer now. Students and their needs still hover above my shoulder when I write, however. They always have. I found early on in my career that to teach writing well I had to write hard myself. Also, before and beyond teaching spelling, punctuation, grammar and the writing process, I had to earn the trust of my students. Writing with them and for them helped me do so. I believe teaching writing and reading skills far surpasses any subject area in importance. Whatever the subject, I focus on imparting useful skills.
Lighthouse for Literacy Award, Monterey County Reading Association 1998 We Honor Ours Award, California Teaching Association - 1982 My novella "Vienna Station" won the 2011 Galaxy Prize. My novel "Dawn Drums" was recently awarded first place in the 2014 Arizona Authors Association’s literary contest and also won the 2014 Tony Hillerman Best Fiction Award.
I earned an AA degree at Long Beach City College in 1967. I graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1970.
I'm an experienced writer. Five of my books for young people have been published: “Joel in Tananar”, “Flower Tumbles”, "The Dragon and the Lemon Tree", "Chaos Gate" and "Dawn Drums". My writing has won a number of recent awards. My short story "Dogwood Dream" won first place in New Millennium Writing's 2011 short fiction contest. My short story "Thorny Child" won the 2012 Central Coast Writers annual contest. Most recently, my Civil War historical novel for young adults, "Dawn Drums", won two awards, Best Fiction from the Arizona Authors Association and the Tony Hillerman Prize from the New Mexico Book Awards.
English Language Arts, Creative Writing, Writing-Expository, Reading, Social Studies - History, Native Americans, U.S. History, Literature, Short Stories, Writing, Reading Strategies, Holidays/Seasonal, Poetry, Presidents' Day, Black History Month, Close Reading