Let me tell you about my background. I have been in public education for 28 years, teaching in a variety of schools and settings, with students aged 6 to 60. Most recently I taught English, history, sociology and newspaper at Union High School in the Grand Rapids Public Schools, an urban district in west Michigan. My career has also included work in adult education, staff development, for business and industrial programs, at Job Corps, for a language instructional company which teaches English to foreign students, at the college level, and some model teaching at the elementary level. I have wide experience in presenting workshops and staff development programs for teachers, trainers, and administrators and this is my current professional focus.
My book, The Inspired Teacher: How to Know One Grow One or Be One, was published in March 2009 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. While it was only during the last few years that I was actively focused on writing this book, in fact, I have realized I’ve been writing it for my entire career as my experiences added up. As I sought to find answers, some experiences were branded onto my mind and I used many of those anecdotes in the book. After I built my teaching skills, I also went back and looked at my own experiences as a student and reexamined them with adult understanding. For instance, the experiences at the beginning of chapter 11, Demonstrating Respect, are my own memories from being a student in the sixties, revisited and examined in the light of what I now know.
Besides The Inspired Teacher, I have contributed chapters to two other books—Writers in the Classroom, and Beyond Textbooks: Hands-On Learning–and provided articles for educational publications such as Teaching Tolerance Magazine. I have also written and directed a couple of training films for teachers.
I have been a National Board Certified Teacher since the end of 2001. Going through this certification process taught me to be truly reflective, examining and re-examining what I thought I knew or could discover in order to find new, more effective approaches.
I have served as a Mentor Teacher and most recently as a Field Instructor for Michigan State University’s teacher education program and I have taught a variety of courses at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was a member of the Michigan Department of Education’s Commission for Professional Teaching Standards. We were tasked with determining the criteria and procedures for the certifying of Michigan teachers and encouraging their continuing professional development. This allowed me to have input into the constant improvement of the teachers for the next generation.
I earned my B.A. at the University of Michigan and an M.A. at Western Michigan University. I wrote numerous grant requests over the years, several of which were funded, including one from the Michael Jordan Foundation to provide my students with basic TV production skills at a public access TV station near our high school.
I find that my curiosity is insatiable, and you’ll get a sense of some of my broader interests and ideas in my Wonderings blog coming in April. I was born in Kansas and lived in a town of about 200 people until I was 15 at which point we moved to suburbs of Detroit. This continues to shape how I see things, notably that there are many effective, though very different ways to get things done. To borrow from a book title, you don’t have to be wrong for me to be right.
So welcome to the site! I hope it will offer inspiring resources and food for thought.