Whole School Initiatives ~How I contributed to the well-being of the school and the development of teachers.
Schools ~About the schools where I worked, accreditation, academic programs, etc.
Service & Values ~Putting others first, giving back, building relationships, being flexible, choosing to do what is right and helping those in need are all important values to me.
I began my career as a marine biologist. An avid scuba diver, I moved to the Cayman Islands to observe the behavior of the fish and work on a few research projects there (stingrays and turtles). For five years, I was paid to scuba dive and film underwater videos. From there, I went to Florida for two months to tag sharks. I worked on an endangered Sawfish project at Mote Marine Lab (home to Eugenie Clark, the shark lady) in Sarasota, Florida. Sharks are my passion, but being a field biologist wasn’t using all of my gifts.
I decided to pursue a Master’s in Elementary Education and become a teacher. I was then offered a job teaching in the Cayman Islands. I taught Art, 2nd grade, 1st grade, and 6th grade before being offered a permanent job teaching 4th grade. I taught 4th grade for 5 years and simultaneously took on the role of Science Coordinator (preK-6). My students LOVE that I used to tag sharks! I decided to make a PowerPoint to teach my students about sharks. Below is a slide from that PowerPoint, (yes that is me, but with shorter hair) measuring and releasing sharks. I also taught a Marine Biology Summer Camp and an after school club where I taught students (age 6-11) how to identify local species of fish and coral and how to snorkel..FUN!
A marine life mosaic table that my 27 students made for a school fundraiser auction. It sold for $700!!
My first year teaching full-time…(September, 2004) It was the second week of school, and I had spent weeks putting up posters and getting the classroom ready. On September 11th, a Category 5 hurricane (Ivan) hit the island of Grand Cayman, ripping apart the school’s roof, flooding the classrooms and destroying all of our resources, including the posters I had spent weeks preparing and laminating. What was left of my classroom (yes, that is an original “chalk” blackboard)…
We were suddenly off school for two months and when we were called back, it was a different school; a mix of old staff and new, some children came back, others moved away. We focused on emotions and experiences of survival rather than the curriculum. We faced an enormous challenge of rebuilding the school from the ground up. We had to be patient and adapt to working in conditions with no ceiling, no power, and no books. I am proud to say that the community came together and supported each other, and at the end of my five years working there, almost every classroom had a SMART Board with new student computers! That is pretty amazing and quite a difference from the “chalk” blackboards we started off with! I guess the hurricane was a blessing in disguise. Check out the school’s website and see what amazing things they are doing with technology today! http://st-ignatius.com
I thought it would be a good challenge to go somewhere that I had to learn another language. Brazil was everything I was looking for, completely opposite of the Caymans, the US, or anywhere I had ever traveled before. This would be the ultimate test of adaptation. A lot of people ask me, WHY BRAZIL? The article, What Brazil Can Teach the World About Living Well, pretty much sums up why I wanted to live in Brazil. I was fortunate to get a job teaching at the American School of Rio de Janeiro at the Macae campus. I learned Portuguese, worked at an amazing school and adapted to the culture. I was even able to practice a little of my Spanish during parent/teacher conferences as many of the families were from South America and spoke very little to no English. I taught 4th grade, 5th and 6th grade during the three years working there (mostly 5th grade), and I was the Language Arts Coordinator (preK- 6th grade). This is also where I met my husband, a Brazilian living in Texas! We moved to Texas and I was a stay-at-home mom for two years, while designing websites on WordPress, web hosting and editing/proofreading. I taught 6th grade reading for one year at Sellers Middle School in Garland ISD, and I currently teach 4th grade (Writer’s Workshop, Science and Social Studies) at Akin Elementary in Wylie, Texas.