I did not always know I wanted to be a teacher. Yet, I was drawn to the educative process during many of my first post undergraduate positions in the telecommunications industry Working for US Sprint and Rockwell International. Through a transformative volunteer opportunity in an elementary afterschool program in my early twenties, I was compelled to seriously consider how I might be of use to my community. Through graduate work in social foundations of education and elementary licensure at the University of Virginia I started a journey of teaching both private and public K-12 students followed by undergraduate and graduate students in their practicum experiences and coursework. It really is the best of both worlds for me. I have the joy of teaching and working with students as they prepare to become teachers and spending time in K-12 schools and classrooms partnering with practicing teachers. Furthering my own education and growth with a with a doctorate from Western Illinois University, I continued to seek ways to be of use for teacher education and rural communities. I believe teachers are in a prime situation to be visionary leaders. Accepting a position at Monmouth College in 2016 was one of my best personal and professional decisions as it has provided me with numerous opportunities to serve rural communities through teacher preparation.
My research is situated within a rural context. I am involved in organizing and supporting place-based educational opportunities paired with civically engaging curriculum centered around strengthening and growing rural communities. In my dissertation, I examined how rural high school students understand the purpose of school and their perceptions of the teaching profession. My continued interest involves working with educators and educational leaders in rural communities seeking teacher visionaries who recognize and leverage the symbiotic relationship between schools and communities.
I love to read and enjoy long walks with my partner, Jim, and our dogs. We have four children (a son in college, and two more sons and a daughter (triplets) in high school). These four humans are a joy and I soak up any time with them that they will allow with their busy lives and schedules.