I grew up here, in Salem, IL, but graduated from Springfield High, in Springfield, IL in 1990. I did my undergraduate degree at Western Illinois University in Macomb. In 1994, I married James (who also works here at SCHS) and took a job at Flora High School in Flora, IL. I taught Spanish 1 and 2 and an independent study 3 and 4. I also taught Biology, which was weird! I love teaching language! We lived in Flora for 7 years but when our daughter was getting close to school age, we knew we wanted to be closer to St. Louis! Everything was so far away from Flora!
In 2001, we bought a house in Carlyle and not long after we moved in, I found out that there would be an opening for a Spanish 1-4 teacher at Carlyle High School! I was teaching at Wesclin High School but I was so excited for the chance to teach in the district where my kids would go to school that I accepted the position. It was hard to switch jobs twice in two years but it was a great decision!
In 2006, I completed the process of becoming National Board Certified and renewed this Master Certification in 2015. I have mentored teachers as they seek to achieve the title of NBCT, National Board Certified Teacher. This process led me to return to school in 2009 for my Master’s degree in Spanish Education. I graduated in 2011 from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and my career has been on a wild roller-coaster ride since then! In 2011, I published my first novel, La hija del sastre or The Tailor’s Daughter. I was also named the 2011 Illinois Principals’ Association Kaskaskia Region Innovative Educator that year!
In 2013, I published my second novel, La Calaca Alegre. I was traveling regularly to present workshops across the nation and thought that life couldn’t get better… and then I was named Illinois Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages teacher of the year! This honor put me in the running for the regional teacher of the year title in March of 2014. It required that I create a 50 page portfolio that would allow the awards committee a look inside my classroom.
They must have liked my submission because in March, I was named the Central States Conference teacher of the year and I competed as a finalist for the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages national teacher of the year title in November of that year. My students have inspired so much of the creativity in my classroom and I love taking examples of their work with me as I go on these adventures!
Things continue to be exciting in our classroom! I have since published two more novels and have a 5th scheduled for release in October! I am serving as president of the Illinois Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages and am a national speaker and workshop presenter. In spite of all the “irons I have in the fire”, my students are my number one priority and I LOVE to share them with colleagues around the world!
Our classroom is about creating a love for languages and an understanding of the cultures of the world! Welcome aboard!!