How long have you been teaching at SIA?

Since August of 2014.

What do you love about SIA?

What I love most about SIA is the general enthusiasm about this school and what we are doing, which is shared by teachers, staff, parents and students. I love that kids are cultivating a relationship with nature during their school day alongside all of their academic and 21st century skills

What units do you teach throughout the school year?

In the fall we do a thematic unit on the Chinook people of the lower Columbia. Kids learn about this group of indigenous folks through a series of field trips and hands-on activities in the classroom. We learn how the tribe members lived long ago and build models of plank houses (traditional dwelling of native people from the Pacific Northwest) after going to visit one ourselves. We work with local tribe members to put on a Tribe Heritage Education Night in December. During this time we also learn about the life cycle of salmon and grow our very own salmon eggs in a tank in the classroom (!!!) which we release (when they are ready) off a nearby dock on the island. In February we will study rocks and minerals and Northwest geology. In the spring we will be learning about Portland’s bridges and doing some engineering and construction work. We also spend one morning a month during the school year at Wapato Park on Sauvie Island. We do a variety of learning activities at the park including nature journaling, science inquiry and service-learning projects.

What is your favorite unit to teach?

I love them all but I love teaching writing!! We use a workshop model in our classroom so I really get to see students grow as writers throughout the school year. My love of the writing process carries over into our reading curriculum as well. I enjoy sharing enthusiasm with students over the books we are reading as a class and/or they are reading on their own and helping them develop their reading skills to be able to open their worlds up to new perspectives and ideas.

What brings you joy outside of the classroom?

I love traveling and seeing new places. I have spent time in South America (si, hablo espanol) and even called Quito, Ecuador my home for two years. I love the Pacific Northwest and spend a lot of time on my bicycle and camping and hiking as well. I have been a part of several local writing groups. I also love to sing, dance and play piano, although not all at once. I have a nine year-old nephew and one year-old niece who I love having adventures with, even though they live in Boston, Massachusetts so I don’t get to see them very often. Humor and laughter are key elements in pretty much all of my close relationships.

Be kind with each other. Try your best. Have fun!