Wow! I always have trouble with these. I'm going to combine some information that I've shared with parents in the past, but also some other professional details, so you get a good picture of where I'm coming from.
For my undergraduate degree, I went to the University of Florida and earned a bachelor of science in Zoology. I continued my studies at UF and earned a master of science in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. During my masters, I studied a small coral living in Homosassa Bay, FL. While at the University of Florida, I also taught open water scuba diving though the University’s Academic Diving Program. Teaching people how to scuba dive opened my eyes to my love of teaching.
I taught for 7 years in Savannah-Chatham (technically 6 years, 7 months according to TRS 😒) at Windsor Forest High, Islands High, and Savannah Arts Academy. I taught all sorts of science classes during my time with SCCPSS - Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physical Science, Zoology, AP Environmental Science, and Scientific Research II. I was big into Donor's Choose (because how else can you get the things you need for your classroom?!) and had over $17,000 in projects funded and won a few technology grants over the years. When I left SCCPSS, I had a lot of great supplies to share with my colleagues.
During this time, I also coached pre-service teachers through a grant at Armstrong (now Georgia Southern) and participated in a grant program aimed at improving access to robotics and computer programming.
I left Savannah at the end of the 2016 school year, making the decision to stay home with my oldest, who was about 7 months at the time. We moved to the suburbs of Atlanta and after a few months, I was interviewed and hired by Georgia Virtual School as an adjunct instructor. This was perfect for me because I could be available for my kids, but also continue to teach. I taught Biology, Environmental Science, Physics, and AP Environmental Science at Georgia Virtual from 2017 through summer 2021.
While teaching at Georgia Virtual, I coached new teachers for several years and served as summer Instructional Lead Teacher for a couple summers.
Summer 2021, I transitioned to a new role at Georgia Virtual in the Teacher Quality department. In this role, I plan professional learning for our faculty and staff and am responsible for onboarding our new hires, tracking them from interview through our last two training courses, after which they are "released" from our training program as fully-vetted Georgia Virtual Instructors. Part of this training process includes supervising our amazing Virtual Instructional Coaches.
Our goal is to provide relevant professional learning for our faculty. Ideally, our professional learning offerings would be tailored to each instructors' needs. We are experimenting with this process a little bit and I'm excited to see where we can go with it. So much of the time, we create these engaging experiences for students and talk about the BEST way for them to learn, yet professional learning seems to be stuck in old-school philosophies. Children become adults and some of those adults become teachers, so the strategies that work for children would also work for adults, with some adaptation. In fact, because adults usually have more developed executive functioning skills, we can go farther with personalized learning than we can with a child, because they have the skills to handle it.
I also have a part-time work as an adjunct instructor for Acellus, a national online school. I've been involved in almost all parts of the course development and maintenance process, from writing textbooks and problems, to analyzing problem data and providing targeted support for those concepts or re-wording problems to make them clearer for students. While this doesn't take up a huge amount of my time, it is interesting to spend time with the science content that originally sparked my interest in teaching. It is also interesting seeing how they approach personalized learning compared to how Georgia Virtual approaches personalized learning.
So, there you go. If you made it this far, congratulations! 🥳