Snap Shot Facts


So last year, when our Teaching Artist from the Kennedy Center came to visit, he told us that there are only two remaining venues in the world that present Tableau and I just about jumped out of my seat because I grew up with one of them in my backyard!!! Growing up in the artist's community of Laguna Beach, California with my ridiculously accomplished artist mother, fostered not only a deep love for the arts but, more importantly, the profound understanding of why it is so important and how it touches all aspects of life.

Traveling to DC to learn about Arts Integration for Bransford at the Kennedy Center felt like coming home! My theatre minor felt right at home with my love of dance and writing and artist expression.  Working at Disneyland in my early 20's taught me that performance and happiness are always intentional.  Every show, every event, every family we entertained started with the Disney 'why'. Why are we doing this? The answer was always to bring impactful experiences through innovation, education and connections and I have carried that philosophy through the years as teaching became my passion.

I began my journey at Bransford in 1996 as an inclusion aide for the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades before moving to 2nd the following year.  After two years of 2nd, I moved to 1st grade and spent a few years :) engrossed in the foundation of reading before looping up with my students to third.

This year, our family is celebrating our oldest daughter's transition to life as a Longhorn at The University of Texas at Austin and our younger daughter's journey in band, yearbook and newspaper staff at Grapevine High School for her Sophomore year.

Life is never dull! 

Philosophy of Teaching

I must admit, when faced with such a small space in which to describe my entire philosophy of teaching, the writer in me had to shudder.
  However, the teacher in me loves a challenge, and the more I thought about it, I realized that basically, the spirit of everything I feel so passionately about is best expressed in my short poem that I leave to my kids in their year books. 

     First Grade Words of Wisdom

                                    Listen to wisdom, smile with a laugh,

                                    Follow your dreams as you choose your own path,

                                    Learn all you can, make knowledge your key,

                                    And you can unlock any door that you see!

            Learning should be an adventure. 

I believe the best kinds of teachers are those who teach because they can not help it.  Over my career, I have discovered that for me, teaching is something that just has to happen.  I will wake up in the middle of the night with a fabulous idea for teaching the students about dirt.  On a vacation, I spent time crawling under a hedge to get the right amount of seed pods, so that each kid in my class could make one fly.  I am happiest when faced with a sudden grin, and someone (anyone) looks at me with the “Ah-ha!” moment in their eyes. It doesn’t matter whether I have shown them how to read a novel or tie a shoe.  When they finally finish, and realize they have succeeded where they thought they would fail, it is magic.

            I firmly believe that the only way to truly reach my students is for them to take hold of their education and realize that it is indeed, their education.  In order to do that, I have to show them the relevance in it.  They have to see why they are learning, why this is worthy to compete with their after school sports, passing notes, television, and video games.  I have to make the lessons come alive and then the learning takes off.  Their excited conversations are golden, they have owned each experience. I feel like I owe them that.  How else will they find a cure for cancer, or question the mistreatment of others, if I don’t show them how to meet a challenge and conquer it, whether it is the problem of world peace or a difficult word in their reader?

             All my students come to me with different life experiences.  Some lead a life that begs you to challenge them with something new; others just beg to be loved.  A teacher’s true job is not simply to teach a set curriculum, but to ensure that each child is given a chance to learn, succeed, fail, and then realize that the lesson learned from the ‘failure’ was worth ten of the easy successes.    

            In my classroom, each student is a scientist, an author, a mathematician.  We use every opportunity to treat education as an exciting adventure.  Success is to be celebrated while mistakes are simply the start of a new way of thinking, something to be learned from, not ashamed of.  I build my classroom style around the needs of my students.  Some need to hear a lesson, some need to see it happen, some need to build it for themselves, but all need something.  By varying my techniques, each student is allowed a time to shine and help others to succeed in a new area.  We find the gifts that are hidden and together, we build a community of life-long learners.