I am a mom of two amazing daughters in their 20s and I can definitely say that worrying about your child doesn't end when they turn 18. I know the trials and tribulations of raising a child to adulthood and the stress that school struggles can cause in a family. I also know that there is hope.
I have been an advocate since my daughters started school and I became a teacher, which happened simultaneously. I have now been an educator and advocate for more than 18 years. I possess a Master's Degree in special education with an emphasis on severe disabilities and am a Board Certified Advocate for Special Education.
I have worked with children and families that have experienced learning differences, attention and impulsivity difficulties, cognitive impairments, neurodivergence, speech and language impairments, and countless other concerns that can make school more difficult for children. My approach to advocacy is student centered and strength based.
So many factors lead me to where I am today. As a very young child, I loved school. I admired my teachers and spent many summers playing school with my little sisters. I always knew that I would be an educator. I loved learning so much that my dad installed a full sized chalkboard in my bedroom when I turned 10. Becoming a teacher was an easy choice. My goal was always to make my classroom a place where all children could thrive and find the same passion for learning that I had. I decided that I could reach more types of learners if I got dual credentials (general and special education). During student teaching, I was placed in a full inclusion school that was the model in my state. My passion for inclusion grew and I was eventually employed at that school for 7 years. I was able to try different inclusion models and learned from some of the best colleagues. Quickly, I became the teacher that had the most challenging students and was seeing great progress. I saw the need to help parents become more informed and aware of the IEP process so I started parent advocacy events for families. I supported parents during transitions to middle school and helped them push for more inclusive classes after they left elementary. This is where my family advocacy journey took root.
Fast forward several years, and I found myself with an opportunity to become a principal. I knew I would miss the classroom, but felt I could make a bigger impact as a leader. Special education teachers are traditionally given much less support and professional development opportunities within the school building than their general education counterparts. I vowed to do better. I was able to support, coach, and provide meaningful opportunities to special education teachers, but I needed to go a step further. I started training general education teachers about inclusive practices and encouraged more collaboration with special education teachers. I also learned about the inner workings of school districts, funding, staffing, and the processes and systems that weren't always in the best interests of students. This has always been a source of frustration, but now I have a deeper understanding of why it happens, and how to change it.
Why Choose Me?
I have a unique perspective about education. I am a parent. I have been a teacher and administrator in public schools. Not only do I understand the school system and special education from the inside, but I get kids. I have worked with children my entire adult life and know what they need to succeed. Whether it is a learning disability, ADHD, autism,or a language disorder that is impacting a child's ability to learn, I have the skills and experience to know how to meet their needs. My expertise as both a general education teacher and special education teacher gives me an advantage in IEP meetings. I have an arsenal of strategies, techniques, training, and knowledge about educating diverse learners.
I am passionate about giving every single child the opportunity to learn in a way that works for them. I fully believe that all children can learn when high expectations are combined with excellent teaching strategies. I strive to push schools and educators to do more for students and to remember who they are there to serve. Because I know what success in school looks like, I can help you navigate to that path for your child. I can use my skills help you fight for what is right for your child.
Finally, I am a relationship builder. I can build bridges between families and schools so that you can have a positive working relationship with your child's school. I know the importance of relationships in a child's education and how a great relationship can be a game changer for a child. My goal is to also have a positive relationship with your family so we can support your child together.