I have taught at the Farragut Middle School for the past eighteen years. I hold a master’s degree in education, a master’s degree in literacy, and I’m currently working to complete a doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University in Curriculum and Instruction. I am also the co-founder of the Race Matters Committee (RMC) in our district. The RMC actively works to make conversations about race and racism central in the curriculum we teach in the Hastings-on-Hudson school district.
Throughout my educational experiences, I’ve been able to engage in course work that has provided me with opportunities to think deeply about literacy instruction and the teaching of children’s literature. One of the most powerful uses of literature in the classroom is helping students move from literal understandings to identification of universal themes. I am particularly interested in helping students to develop a critical stance toward reading by thinking about issues related to social justice and how these issues influence others as well as themselves.
My work for social justice extends beyond the classroom. For the past several years, I’ve represented the U.S. northeast as a member of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards Committee. I work with a group of intelligent, diverse, committed educators across the country to read and discuss books by authors and illustrators whose work addresses issues related to social justice. As a result, I read dozens of children’s books each year and analyze their content, quality, and ability to inform children about historical events both past and present. Additional information about the JACBA and the books that have received this award can be found at: www.janeaddamspeace.org.
Within each of the contexts I work in, I am fortunate to engage in discourses about literacy instruction while working alongside remarkable educators. I have presented my research at national conferences such as ILA, NCTE, and AERA, and I write books for educators, published by Heinemann, about reading and writing instruction that showcase the brilliant work of my students here at the Farragut Middle School. My first book is Teaching Interpretation: Using Text-Based Evidence to Construct Meaning and my second book is Flip Your Writing Workshop: A Blended Learning Approach. As I work toward completing my doctorate, my goal is to insure that the work I do as a scholar provides me with the analytic tools needed to inform and transform curriculum. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year of learning with my students.