I bring to Hilltop a strong desire to instill confidence and a sense of curiosity in the children I work with. I believe creating a safe learning environment is crucial for children to feel comfortable in taking risks to voice their ideas, ask questions, and collaborate with other students and teachers. In addition, I bring a wealth of experience from my degrees in early childhood education and studio art and almost ten years working with children from preschool age to school age, successfully incorporating my values around co-learning and emergent curriculum. During this time I have been able to build strong relationships with families that support the growth of their children, even after they leave my classroom.
I’ve been teaching students of all ages since 2001. I started out in the teaching profession overseas — as an ESL teacher — in China, Japan Thailand, and Brazil. When I returned from those travels, I spent time as a substitute teacher in Seattle’s north-end for the preschool Nurturing Knowledge along with Kid Links. The next year I taught at 2 elementary schools in the Parisian suburb of Elancourt.
Upon returning from France, and after working the summer of 2007 at a rock and roll music camp, I finally secured a position at a place that was able to keep me around for more than a year: Central Branch Preschool in South Seattle’s Mt. Baker neighborhood. There I really was challenged to unlearn a lot of what I thought was serving children’s needs and I really grew from that experience as a result. It taught me so much about emergent, child-directed, and anti-bias curriculum and how to intertwine that in a fun setting that nurtures social and emotional development through play. After the 2014-’15 school year I decided that I needed a break from teaching to focus on some other passions of mine: traveling and music. I was fortunate to walk away with a tremendous amount of new tools and really had my perspective as a teacher flipped upside down.
All the while as a teacher the world over, I’ve been honing my crafts as a singer-songwriter/guitar player and leading my band Origami Ghosts. We’ve been lucky to have done 8 national tours, 2 in Europe, and one in Asia. We’ve recorded 4 albums and played hundreds of concerts. Aside from music, I’m also an avid yoga practitioner and I love cooking. I went to college at the University of Washington and my B.A. in Economics (surprised?) helped me land my first teaching gig in Shanghai, China — a teacher was born!
I have been an educator in the River Room since August of 2013 but have worked in the field for over ten years. I love working in a truly emergent program and the child-focused curriculum I have found here at Hilltop because I have seen the wonderful things it has done for the children and families I have had the pleasure of working with. In my free time I enjoy cooking, going to game nights with friends, painting and spending time with my husband Patrick.