My teaching career began in New York City in 2006, where I served as a self-contained special education teacher for a cross-age classroom. After receiving my Master's degree in school psychology from the University of Minnesota, I moved to Austin, Texas where I returned to the classroom as a special education teacher in a K-5 elementary school and began pursuing a Master's degree in curriculum & instruction.
After having my first child, I transitioned into a district position as the Coordinator of Research & Evaluation, which focused on data analysis and program evaluation for K-12 in a large, suburban district in Texas. However, it didn't take long to realize I missed the students, and after a year, I made a move back into the classroom.
Since that time I've worked as a general education teacher in inclusion and ESL classrooms, with the majority of my time spent teaching third grade. I also received a third (and final) Master's degree in educational leadership and completed my administrative certification.
Most recently, I've worked as a district-level instructional coach supporting teachers working with students in the Response to Intervention framework. This position involved one-on-one and group coaching for intervention teachers at my district's Title I campuses, developing and presenting campus and district level professional development sessions, and serving as a member of district committees dedicated to improving outcomes to struggling and at-risk students.
Certifications: Elementary Education Special Education ESL Gifted Education Administration
My belief is that teachers should meet students where they are in order to get them to where they need to be. Learning can be engaging and fun without sacrificing rigor, and high-quality lessons need to take all those pieces into considerations.
My teaching style focuses on providing differentiated instruction for my students through the use of student choice, differentiated materials, and opportunities to accelerate or modify based on student needs. I incorporate hands-on experiences and manipulatives whenever possible, and I believe connecting learning to real-world experiences is a great way to engage students and prepare them to become contributing citizens. Each year, my classroom engaged in Project Based Learning and community service projects to help build critical thinking about the world.
I believe it is essential for teachers to stay up-to-date on the latest research and be willing to think outside the box and try new things in an effort to improve student outcomes. I purposefully seek out new knowledge and keep current on up-and-coming trends in education. For example, as a classroom teacher, I first introduced flexible seating into my classroom in 2010 after reading the research on the benefits of movement and utilizing yoga balls to support student focus. While flexible seating has moved toward the mainstream these days, at the time this was a cutting edge practice.
I truly believe my biggest strength as a teacher was my ability to differentiate my instruction in a way that allowed each student to feel successful and continue to grow as a learner. I pride myself on knowing that my classroom was a place where my students felt safe to take risks, make mistakes, and join the conversation regardless of their background knowledge (or lack thereof).
Recent Presentations & Publications
Building Critical Readers through Collaborative Book Studies; Association for Middle Level Education Fall Conference 2016
Data-based Differentiation Strategies; Staff Development for Educators Differentiation Conference 2016 Presentor, Association for Middle Level Education 2016
Burns, M. K., Peters, R., & Noell, G. H. (2008). Using performance feedback to enhance the implementation integrity of the problem-solving team process. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 537-550.
Awards & Honors
Teacher of the Year Nominee, 2009-2014
HEB Rising Star Award Winner for Texas, 2010
HEB Excellence in Education Awards Regional Judge, 2011-2014
Education is a core part of my life, both as a learner and a teacher.
I completed my undergraduate degree at a small private college in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As an undergraduate, I completed independent research in the impact of cognitive load on memory and skill proficiency in math and reading. In 2004, I graduated from Augsburg College with honors.
I received my Master's degree in School Psychology from the University of Minnesota, where I focused my research on home-school connections and the Response-to-Intervention framework. During this time, I had a research article published in the Journal of School Psychology, which focused on improving the implementation of the problem-solving team process within RTI.
I later returned to school again, receiving additional Master's degrees in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership from Concordia University.
Yet to be added
English Language Arts, Creative Writing, Reading, Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, Specialty, Math, Applied Math, Arithmetic, Basic Operations, Fractions, Geometry, Graphing, Measurement, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Environment, Social Studies - History, Ancient History, U.S. History, World History, Arts & Music, Special Education, ELA Test Prep, Math Test Prep, Other (ELA), Critical Thinking, For All Subject Areas, Literature, Classroom Management, Statistics, School Counseling, Character Education, Word Problems, General Science, Physical Science, Cooking, Writing, Reading Strategies, Holidays/Seasonal, Back to School, Thanksgiving, Christmas/ Chanukah/ Kwanzaa, Poetry, Autumn, Mental Math, Halloween, Winter, The New Year, Valentine's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents' Day, Decimals, St. Patrick's Day, Spring, Place Value, Earth Day, For All Subjects, Summer, Informational Text, Occupational Therapy, Handwriting, For Administrators, Test Preparation, End of Year, Women's History Month