I grew up in Odessa, Missouri, about one hour east of Kansas City. I am fortunate to have grown up in a teaching family. My father was a high school science teacher, and my mother was an elementary special education teacher. I decided to become an educator because of them.
My mom is one of the greatest teachers I have ever known, and I'm not the only one who feels that way. She was named Missouri Special Educator of the Year in 2000, but unfortunately had to retire in 2004 due to Multiple Sclerosis. There was a year where she was in the hospital nearly more than she was at school. She ultimately had to choose between teaching and living; in her mind, she wasn't living unless she was teaching.
After talking the situation over with my father, who was close to retirement, my mother decided to retire as well. When I thought about how many students were going miss out on the educational experiences my parents provided, I knew someone had to do something. I decided to be that someone. I put aside other career aspirations and elected to carry the torch in their stead, reaching out and personalizing education in the ways my parents always had. Luckily for me, I loved teaching so much that I couldn't imagine doing anything else!
Upon graduating from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) with a Bachelor of Science in English Education and a Master of Arts in English, I accepted a teaching position at Raymore-Peculiar High School. I spent four years at Ray-Pec, and during my penultimate year was nominated for Teacher of the Year. I couldn't believe it! I worked with so many teachers who were doing great things, and I felt honored to be counted among them. I realized that even though I was being recognized for serving my students and fellow staff members, there were more students at the school I did not have the chance to serve and more staff members that I never got to share ideas with. Again, I decided to make an impact.
I sent a proposal to the Write to Learn conference in order to share my ideas on media literacy practices in the high school classroom. It was accepted, and the reviews from my presentation were very complimentary. Some of my colleagues suggested that maybe I should look into pursuing faculty development, but I wasn't done teaching high school yet. I looked for more ways to engage my learners and discovered systems for gamifying my classroom management and blending my teaching style. I shared them with my colleagues, and students became excited about learning in our classes.
Discovering new ways to integrate technology into the classroom led me to my current pursuits in Instructional Psychology and Technology. I began by enrolling in monthly graduate courses through Full Sail University's Instructional Design and Technology Master's program. During this time, I applied for Brigham Young University's (BYU) Instructional Psychology and Technology Doctoral program. I was accepted to BYU on February 7th of 2017 and started my studies in the Fall of the same year.
I am currently working with Dr. Charles R. Graham, as well as other IP&T students and faculty, on blended learning initiatives for K-12 environments. I hope to one day provide pre-service and in-service teachers with the tools they need to better personalize and engage their learners, while increasing student agency and access.
EXPERIENCE / SKILLS
Adobe Illustrator + GarageBand + iMovie + Canvas + Google Drive Applications + Microsoft Office Suite + Instructional Strategies + Instructional Design + Teaching Online + Online Course Design
Additional design work can be seen here.
STUDENT AWARDS & RECOGNITION
K-12 Online and Blended Learning Promising Scholar Award (2021)
Smaldino and Herring Teacher Leadership Award (2020)
IP&T Student Organization - President, (2018-2019)
IP&T Student Organization - Vice President, President-Elect (2017-2018)
Olin J. Campbell Memorial Scholarship - Brigham Young University, IP&T Department (2018)
Outstanding Teaching Award - Brigham Young University, IP&T Department (2018)
Sigma Tau Delta - International Honor Society - Gamma Theta Chapter President, Outstanding Member (2012)
UCM Rhetoric and Composition Faculty Search Committee
Robert J. Greef Award for Outstanding English Education Major (2010)
UCM Honors College Graduate
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity – Epsilon Gamma Chapter President (2009), Secretary (2008), Internet Coordinator (Fall 2007), Probationary President (Fall 2007)