Where did you grow up?
Where did you go to college?
Oregon State University and Portland State University
What was your college mascot?
Beavers and Vikings
When did you first know that you wanted to be a teacher or work in education?
I finished my first master’s degree and found myself underemployed and working as an actor/freelance writer. I got called by a Portland-area nonprofit asking me to come facilitate some improv for a group of adults with developmental disabilities. I had never considered teaching until that moment, but took the job and thought it would be a fun experience for a couple of days. Two months later, I was teaching my own acting class through that organization, and soon applied for my master’s in special education. I had definitely found something important.
Why did you become a teacher or choose the field of education?
As I began my work as a nonprofit theatre teacher, I was around adults with developmental disabilities, but knew close to nothing about disabilities. This meant I got to know my students before I got to know their disability, and I think that gave me an awesome advantage. I didn’t know what their diagnosis meant or what box was checked on an IEP. I got to experience their individual strengths and needs in full force while we explored theatre together. I loved helping them develop their self-advocacy and independence skills, as well as a love for art. I decided that no matter what job I pursued, I wanted to advocate for, and alongside, people experiencing disabilities at all age levels as they explore their creativity and overarching life goals.
If you were an app, which app would you be and why?
Sushi Monster, because sushi is my favorite food; I appreciate any tiny cartoon monster; and I like competing for tiny victories!