One Day,

I hope people see that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world…

What is your educational background?

I attended Saint Francis University and earned a Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education, Special Education and Early-Childhood Education. I later attended California University of PA and earned my Masters of Education in Educational Leadership, Principal K-12.

What or who inspired you to become an educator?

Throughout my life, there have been many experiences and individuals that have inspired me to become an educator. Each experience has entailed helping and learning from others, which are key to being a successful educator. You, one, need to want to be inspired to help others and two, be willing to learn alongside them. I also have had many educators during my time as a student that inspired me to be the best human being I could be. What these educators encompassed were kindness, patience, a supportive nature and were all amazing listeners and bridges between home life and school life. I looked up to them and strived to one day support students in the same manner that they supported me throughout my education. Always being humbled by how I was inspired to become an educator helps me on the hardest days in the classroom. You are there to be your students’ superhero in education, so ’throwing in the towel’ is never an option. You always need to think back to what got you in that classroom in the first place… them.

What roles have you had in the sphere of education?

I currently hold a kindergarten position at O’Hara Elementary in the Fox Chapel Area School District. I have been with the district for three years now. I have served as a kindergarten educator in the district for the last three years, one year being at Hartwood Elementary and the last two at O’Hara Elementary. Previously I was an educator at Propel Charter Schools (East, Turtle Creek). I served as a first grade and kindergarten educator throughout my five years in the charter school system. Before I was hired at Propel, I held an Autistic/Emotional Support position in the Bellefonte Area School District. I taught at Marion Walker Elementary for one year before I moved on to Propel.

All of these experiences have been amazing building blocks to my career. Each one has helped to shape me into the educator I am today. They have each helped to shape my classroom community and culture, classroom management, structure and teaching style. Each year, you adapt and change, but each student and class, helps to develop your craft to be the best it can be for the faces that are put in front of you each and every day.

Why are you still in the field of education?

As an unknown educator said, yet I know I strongly feel, “Teaching is an intense, challenging, endeavor and yet, one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced.” This is why I am still in the field of education. Each and every student is important. We as educators understand that the most important thing you can do is to build a strong relationship with each and every child you have the privilege of teaching and growing with each day. It’s also extremely important to build a supportive, loving classroom family and culture for every child to be successful in. I have worked with so many students who are all beautifully and uniquely different as it applies to where they come from, how they are raised, their abilities, their struggles, their traumas that they may have endured and so much more. As an educator of all students, it is so important to create this safe, positive space for students to come to every day, so that when they are in school they are not only developing strong academic skills, but also strong social emotional skills. We as educators are helping to develop the whole child and amazing human beings. I am in the field of education to this day because this is something I love to build.

I also love to develop a strong home to school connection with families, so that students can be successful no matter where they are. I am still in the field of education because I enjoy my students enthusiasm and love of learning. Especially in kindergarten, students become so eagerly excited about the smallest things and that is what life is all about. It’s about celebrating the small things that bring us joy. I get to see these kids grow and develop each and every day into readers, thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, mathematicians, scientists and just amazing, strong human beings. I get to inspire kindness, love and respect and get to see it in action. As hard as the job can be at times, it is that much more rewarding. Education is my passion, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

One day what do you hope for?

One day I hope for education to become equal and equitable for all. No matter where you come from, where you live, who you love, what your experiences are or the traumas you have endured, you are offered and given the same equal and equitable education as everyone else. Every child deserves creative, positive, loving, kind, talented and passionate educators each and every year as they grow and develop. They deserve access to strong, rigorous curriculum and interventions in all subject areas. They deserve quality, state-of-the-art facilities and technology for our ever-changing world. Again, no matter where they live or who they are, each child deserves an equal and equitable education.

I hope that all districts one day will add sections of Pre-Kindergarten to help the transition and learning curves that education has brought on in each grade level. As an example, students coming into kindergarten are coming into a world of what used to be first grade. I hope that districts focus more on developing the whole child and also a whole lot more on mental health rather than state test scores.

I hope that educators continue to promote kindness and love in their classrooms no matter who they are in front of. I hope that schools continue to help shape their school community and culture to meet ALL students.

I hope that one day, teachers are given the respect they deserve. The support and materials that they and their students deserve no matter where they teach. The pay they deserve and so much more.

I hope that one day, our world can truly see what Nelson Mandela meant by his quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” If we each can see and believe in that, our world would/could be such a better place. :)