Born and raised in South Dakota, I moved to Los Angeles in 1995 after graduating from the University of South Dakota – where I began a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Times. In 2005, I decided that I wanted to transition into a profession that would provide more personal satisfaction, as I had grown weary of endlessly evaluating myself against revenue projections and goals. After several months reflecting on what direction to take my life, I saw how my love of reading had been a constant companion along with my passion for helping others to learn. As a manager, I had always been the “go to” when account executives needed help with their sales techniques, new products, or with any of our various computer systems. My role as a corporate teacher only increased when I led the committee that developed the new-hire training program for the L.A. Times’ advertising department and became the manager that the majority of new-hires were assigned to. And so, after careful thought, I returned to school (California State University Northridge), completed a BA in English Lit, my credential program, and landed a job teaching eighth grade English at John Muir Middle School in Burbank, California. From the start, I got involved with the union in whatever way I could, and am currently serving as a site rep, on our local organizing committee, and as a national delegate – as well as our school’s PTA liaison. And I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier.
But, if my 20 years in corporate America taught me anything, it’s to approach everything with a problem-solving mindset. I think we’ve only just begun to explore the ways in which public education can be modeled. I want to develop methods to train students not just on what to learn, but how to do it. I am convinced that our future depends on building a generation of critical thinkers that have the tools and experience to reason in bold, long-term, and compassionate ways.
As for our union, I am running because, as a manager trained to assess and strategize business plans, I cannot ignore the fact that on the majority of our members’ most pressing issues — compensation, class sizes, staffing, school funding, and healthcare — our national union has been unable to successfully address these problems. I’m running because I believe the time is now for a clear STRATEGY and VISION with which to confront them. I’m running because I see every day how hard our local unions are working to stand up to dwindling funding – and believe that our national union must begin pursuing federal dollars as aggressively as local unions pursue local dollars. To do this, I believe we must draft a Federal Education Bill of Rights and organize across this country to pass it. The videos on this website articulate the full details of my plan to finally achieve what we have sorely needed for decades. I look forward to hearing from my fellow union sisters and brothers on how we can work together to make this happen. Regardless, it is an honor and privilege to be a part of the National Education Association, the California Teachers Association, and the Burbank Teachers Association. Union strong!