I have been going to school my whole life: student, teacher, principal, board administrator, university instructor. I have always loved to read and write so when I retired I decided to try my hand at telling my stories.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, I came to Canada at the age of 5 and consider myself a Canadian but with strong family ties to the USA. I attended Queen's University in Kingston, graduating with a degree in medieval history which didn't seem very promising on the job market! I had always loved working with kids so I got a Bachelor of Education in 1984. Eventually I went back and got my Masters of Education in Educational Leadership.
I have taught all the grades from Kindergarten to 10, including French and Special Education. Often I am asked which is my favourite grade. The answer? Whichever one I am teaching. My first real learning about teaching was when my principal said to me, "Next year you are teaching grade one, not grade seven". I replied, "Like with singing and printing?" I was petrified about the singing part and practiced printing my grocery lists all summer! I quickly learned that none of students could print or sing but what I really needed to be worried about was teaching them to read. That began a long journey into the study of teaching literacy. Then well into my career, as principal, a group of teachers and I really started to tackle teaching mathematics through problem solving. This led to a TEDx talk and a job at the board office as the Math Lead.
When I retired in 2019 I went to Tanzania to teach mathematics in a rural school to girls who had been saved from early forced marriage. I was partnered with an NGO, Agape Open Knowledge School that provides a secondary school education for these girls who are no longer welcome in the public school system, The classroom was small and had dirt floors and open windows. When it rained school was delayed as the water poured in. My love of teaching was rekindled as I taught secondary school mathematics without any technology, only a few outdated textbooks and a rickety blackboard. I loved it.
Education is all about the learning and the possibilities. Anyone who ever worked with me will tell you that thinking about how students learn is at the core of everything I do. When I am not pondering the "what ifs" of education, I relax by being outdoors: looking for turtles while kayaking, hiking up for a view, cross country skiing or scuba diving. My creative outlets, besides writing, include quilting, throwing pots and mastering sourdough bread.
I have three wonderful children who all live their own lives now but we stay in close touch. My parents live close by in an old log cabin and we visit regularly. They are still my greatest supporters. My two brothers live outside Canada but yearly family trips are eagerly anticipated and relished by all. I currently live with my partner in an old Victorian house in Toronto, Ontario .