I lead through conversation, courage, and kindness.
I began my teaching career thirty years ago with the belief that the classroom is a powerful site for building agency and empowerment. I developed project-based curricula for high school interdisciplinary classes at one of the first alternative high schools in New York City: University Heights High School, where I provided opportunities for students to publish a school newspaper, solve international conflicts using conflict resolution strategies, and pursue American History inquiry projects. I also facilitated an advisory program that invited theater professionals in to facilitate workshops in AIDS prevention.
Aligned with Ted Sizer’s beliefs in the teacher as generalist, I had the opportunity to team-teach humanities, math, science, and phys-ed. Most interestingly, I helped develop a graduation portfolio process for students to present a body of work with reflective “cover letters” that was presented to peers, family members and outside guests using a protocol for feedback.
I believe that high school is critical time for students to develop critical thinking skills, persistence, and social interdependency.
In my previous role as professional developer, I worked closely with principals throughout the New York City area to support research-based literacy practices in reading and writing workshop, and independent reading. I also designed and ran whole-school professional development programs that included professional learning communities, classroom labs, data-based instruction, curriculum mapping, Japanese Lesson Study, Common Core alignment, “Lunch and Learns”, and one-on-one teacher coaching.
My professional learning has included participating in one of the first facilitative leadership trainings through the National School Reform Faculty. I recently completed a two-year contract as Academic Head, grade team leader, and English Literature teacher at a high school in Khartoum, Sudan.
I have two daughters in New York City public schools, and a husband who was a New York City teacher and assistant principal. I earned my B.A. in Political Science from SUNY Purchase, earned my Masters in Teaching Social Studies from Boston University, where I befriended Howard Zinn as a mentor and teacher, and I have an Administrative Leadership Certificate from the City College of New York.