Since beginning my job at the Nebraska Department of Education, I discovered the beauty and diversity of our state. I love traveling north on two-lane highways, having dinner in small town cafés, and gazing at the rustic scenery that stretches across miles of Nebraska prairie. I have never seen a sunset prettier than one on a recent drive to Wayne, NE that literally filled the sky with more colors than in a box of 24 crayolas. The best thing about my job is the chance to meet the kind and interesting people that live in every town I visit. But I also love coming back home, where my two children, house, yard, and new puppy provide many more hours of work, rest, and fun.
I taught many years for Lincoln Public Schools, in primary grade classrooms. My favorite job was teaching first graders to read and write in the classroom I shared with my friend Kim Ridder- a current Nebraska Writing Project Co-Director. For the past 5 years, I have worked at the Department of Education as Reading and Writing Director, involved in on-going and new projects related to literacy education. I am glad to continue my relationship with the Nebraska Writing Project, supporting and connecting projects statewide.
My first NeWP experience was the summer of 1995, where I really learned about teaching writing, myself as a writer, and learning in general. Since then, I served several years as summer institute facilitator, co-director, and as a member of several study groups sponsored by NeWP. I continue to advise and support current NeWP projects whenever I am lucky enough to have the opportunity.
I was thrilled to participate in a National Writing Project leadership research project over the past year. People involved in Writing Project sites from across the country came together to write vignettes, telling their own unique stories of leadership development because of local Writing Project opportunities. As always, this piece of writing helped me make discoveries about myself - as a leader, learner, and writer. This vignette is my story of how I took what I learned as a NeWP participant, and incorporated it into the many projects I am involved in at the NE Department of Education.