As a child, I spent my summers visiting my grandparents in Traverse City. We played in the fields of flowers, swam in the area’s many lakes, attended cherry festival events, and frequented “Taco House” at least once a week. At night, my bedroom window provided a breathtaking view of the cityscape, enveloped by a dark sky and bright stars. Needless to say, Traverse City quickly became my own personal heaven.
I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Michigan State University. During this time, I directed a day camp for special needs children, located in a beautiful park in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. We spent our days playing and laughing, ensuring that every single child would feel that no amount of fun was out of reach. This experience taught me that children are oftentimes much more capable and resilient than they may seem.
My career began in Detroit. I spent 11 years educating underserved high school students, serving them in many roles: teacher, curriculum director, assistant principal, and principal. This was very passionate work, and it has forever reshaped the way I interpret issues of equity in our country. I will never forget the resilience, strength and kindness of my Detroit teens.
My family moved to Traverse City in 2014. My husband is from Traverse City and always wanted to return to the area. It was at this time that I chose to stay home with my children: Samantha, Charlotte, and Faye. While staying at home, I began my volunteer work with Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan (CFS). After a few months in the organization, I eagerly joined their board of directors, serving as a director, governance chair, and then board president.
After my work with CFS, I determined it was time to once again engage in education. I spent one semester serving Old Mission Peninsula Elementary School as their Interim Head of School, assisting them during a transitional time in leadership. I also mentored youth at Traverse Heights Elementary School while taking courses in Educational Leadership through the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.
I am elated to join the team as Greenspire’s Head of School. Project Based Learning (PBL) allows students to actively engage with their community, critically analyze current environmental and societal issues, and work collaboratively with their peers/teachers. There is no other mode of instruction that elicits results like these. I have witnessed traditional methods for many years, and while there is merit in these efforts, Project Based Learning evokes excitement, wonder, and true engagement in deep learning. One of my favorite “hobbies” is to watch students learn, and I can only imagine how spectacular it will be to watch PBL in action!