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I grew up in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill with my younger brother and parents. When I was in first grade we moved across the river to Arlington, Virginia. I loved growing up with the Smithsonian and national news in my backyard! I knew as early as high school that I wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from high school in 1990 I went on to James Madison University (Go Dukes!) in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. It began as a teacher's college for Virginia's young women and is now a one of the state's largest co-ed schools, specializing in all areas of learning. It was there that I met my handsome husband, Erik.
During my years at JMU I majored in English, Early Childhood Education (of course!) and minored in French. I even spent a semester studying abroad in Paris and traveling across Europe! It was one of the most important experiences of my life. It helped to develop my love for travel and experiencing new cultures. I joined a co-ed service fraternity called Alpha Phi Omega (APO) and worked actively within my Catholic Campus Ministry group. I finished up my studies with student teaching and graduated in 1994.
I spent a year teaching in Northern Virginia. Then I went off to spend a year doing service work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I strongly believe that "The service we do is the rent we pay for our time on earth" (author unknown). I went to the Pacific Northwest and spent a year working and living in Spokane, Washington (the OTHER Washington, from my point of view). I worked at a sheltered workshop that employed adults with developmental disabilities. We made candles and did woodwork. I learned how to make both while I was there as well as to work with and love this population of adults.
Once there, I fell in love with the Northwest and decided to move to Portland, Oregon. It is SO beautiful out there. If you haven't been, I highly recommend a trip along the coast and to Portland and Seattle! Erik and I each found apartments and lived there for 3 years. During that time I continued to do some service work with the homeless, continued to work with adults with developmental disabilities, and then taught in the Portland Public School system. Erik and I got engaged out there and then planned a wedding for a year later, back home in D.C. We got married in Georgetown in 1999 and moved straight to Chicago from our honeymoon.
We were poor, but happy. I taught in a daycare, did some nanny work, went back to school for my masters in Reading, and then worked on the westside of Chicago as a Reading Specialist. I learned about an opening here at Union Ridge for a Kindergarten position and went after it. Thankfully, I got the job! Since then my family has moved twice within the city and Erik and I had two kids. We had our son Morgan in 2006 and our daughter Emma in 2009. In 2012 we added our cats James and Madison to the mix and we are a very happy family. Erik got the teaching bug, went back to school, and is currently teaching high school History on the south side of Chicago for Chicago Public Schools. We travel every summer and work like crazy during the school year and we wouldn't have it any other way!
We are very lucky to be able to have Morgan and Emma here as students at URS as well. This is a tremendous blessing for which we are very grateful. It has made a huge positive impact on their lives. We are proud to be a husky family and we love Union Ridge School. I hope to be here until the end of my teaching career, teaching the kids of my former students!