Here’s the short version:
Native Wisconsinite (Cheesehead)
If you have the time, here’s the long version:
I was born and raised in Wisconsin, home of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. My family – immediate and extended – has always been a source of strength, support, and inspiration for me. My parents are hard-working individuals who value honesty, humility, generosity, and joy. My brother and sister taught me how to have a sense of humor and accept every challenge before me. My grandparents were/are beacons of love and loyalty.
In addition to my family, I had some terrific teachers, mentors, and role models throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years. In particular, my music teachers inspired in me a love of music and of learning that helped shape me as an eternal student.
In August of 2003, I moved to New York to study music education at New York University. Upon graduating, I spent a year working in two different temporary positions, after which I was fortunate enough to be offered a permanent position at the Bank Street School for Children. For four years, I developed a curriculum for grades 1-4 general music, directed elementary choir, led weekly community-wide singing assemblies, assisted with the middle school choirs and musical, and served on a faculty advisory body. During my time at the School for Children, I enrolled in graduate school at Bank Street College of Education. I completed coursework in Curriculum Design, Special Needs, and Educational Leadership, and received a Master of Science in Education in May of 2012. In addition to my general education graduate studies at Bank Street, I studied the theory and pedagogy of the Kodály music education philosophy at the NYU Kodály Summer Institute. In the summer of 2011, I attended an additional week-long course at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary.
In the summer of 2012, a new adventure began. I moved to Burlington, Vermont, with my partner (now husband), Greg. With the change in scenery, I opted for a change in my teaching career. I began teaching middle school general music and choir at a public K-8 school in a small town just south of Burlington. Working with older students was both challenging and rewarding, and I was fortunate to work with some terrific colleagues. In my second year in Vermont, I began directing an ensemble at the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association called the Vermont Youth Concert Chorale, an extracurricular choral ensemble for students in grades 3-8.
After two years teaching only middle school during the school day, I was offered an opportunity I could not turn down: teaching PreSchool through 8th grade in a small private school just a short walk from home. Despite the intense joy of teaching middle school (and I do mean intense, as everything in middle school is of a superlative nature), I had underestimated how much I would miss working with younger students.
In my final year in Vermont, I held 5 different jobs for most of the school year, and for two weeks in December, I had 6 different jobs. While I hope to never do that to myself again, working many part-time jobs afforded me the opportunity to have one of the most rejuvenating and inspiring experiences of my teaching career: teaching a class called “Fundamentals of Singing” at a community college just outside Burlington. Within the first few classes, our group of 12 adults from ages 19-60+ bonded in a way that I could never have imagined, and the music we made and discussions we had were thrilling for me.
Moving to Vermont afforded me some terrific, non-musical opportunities in the great outdoors. In the spring of 2015, I ran my fourth full marathon, finishing with my best time and greatest comfort level yet. The hilly and mountainous terrain in Vermont provided for fairly rigorous training. I also loved adding hiking, snowshoeing, paddle boarding, and biking to my life on a regular basis.
Yet another element of Vermont that I loved exploring was the culture of local and sustainable food and beer production. In the three years I lived in the Green Mountain State, I was fortunate enough to develop relationships with farmers, brewers, and other local producers that allowed me to both support the local economy and increase the health and wellness of my household.
Despite the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and wonderful friends, students, and colleagues, Greg and I found that our lives are indeed rooted in New York. In the summer of 2015, we relocated back to the city for both personal and professional reasons. In the fall of 2015, I began teaching at Friends Seminary in Manhattan. I teach Music in the Lower School and Chorus in the Middle and Upper Schools, and I am the Music Director of the school musical in the spring.
I am also pursuing a doctorate in Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. I’m taking the scenic route along the way, with the intention of finishing someday but not racing my way through. In the meantime, I immerse myself in teaching and making as much music as possible.