Sixteen years ago, when I began teaching middle school English in a rural district in Upstate NY, I never thought my professional journey would take the turns it did. Looking back over my career, I am amazed at what I have been able to accomplish and where God has orchestrated me to be at all the right times.
I started in Kindergarten student teaching, which caused me to reconsider everything I thought I knew about teaching children. It did not take long for me to realize that young children were not in my comfort zone. Another teaching experience with a gifted and talented program in middle school proved to be a far better fit for me.
I obtained a full time district substitute position, with daily duties ranging from driver’s ed to honor’s English. At that time, I also became the school’s newspaper adviser, which garnered much attention as the student writers and editors aimed to be a voice to reckon with and went underground, with massive community support.
My first tenured position was in middle and high school English, which evolved to include a department chair role and professional development training, as well as summer school programming. From here I began to explore other professional venues, working with at-risk youth at a residential center and then on to work for the BOCES system at their career and technical centers. I taught students, mentored teachers, and even played a dean of students role at times.
Life took a very interesting turn when my then husband’s job took us from NY to Wisconsin. I was blessed with a wonderful position leading a technical college in their expansion of online programming. While I was honored with the faith the director had in me, it was a bittersweet transition because I always had hopes of working in the State Education system in NY to one day affect change within the education system. Now, here I was at a community college level with no future direction toward a return to K-12.
After a brief time in WI, our family once again transitioned, this time to Florida! I was again blessed with a terrific position working for Florida’s University system as a technical trainer. I absolutely loved training and workshop design. I also remained connected with online learning.
A move back to NY brought many of these pieces back together with a position at a community college that allowed me to train online teaching faculty and design technical training workshops. While I have enjoyed this position immensely, I have remained very localized in my impact on education. I have always wondered, in the back of my mind, how I might be able to be involved on a larger scale with what is happening regionally, and nationally. I have begun to present at conferences, which has helped to open pathways for me to pursue this passion.
God is good. And He remains faithful to the desires He has placed in our heart. I was recently offered a position within our State University system, where I will be supporting educational initiatives and training across western NY. After many years, a wealth of varied experiences, and an extra few thousand miles round-trip from where I began, I am right where I was created and molded to be.
And I am incredibly grateful.