I am originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but have lived in Maine since 1972 - so I call both places "home." I taught dance (African, jazz and modern) in middle school and privately before I became involved with educators in the Maine island schools. I worked for six years with teachers, students and parents on the 13 year round islands -organizing inter-island conferences, summer institutes and writing for the Island Institute's publications. Everything I know about teaching and schools came from that experience.
I believe that we teach who we are - so I make time in all my courses to get to know my students and to share my background and interests with them. I believe that knowledge is constantly under construction insofar as facts are filtered through personal experience, time, place, and ideologies - so I make time to explore the views of my students as well as the "experts" as we build our understanding of ideas and practices together. I try to spend more time listening than telling; provoking than pronouncing.
True to my New Mexican roots, I love color, turquoise jewelry, and am straight-forward in my thinking and my conversations. I love my husband and our two cats; complicated historical novels (and Harry Potter), classic jazz music and outrageous red zinfandels. Most important, I spend my summer making gardens of all shapes and varieties.
I am curious about many things - how our families, neighborhoods, churches, schools have shaped our identity; how we define what it means to be successful - in school or life; how we learn what it means to be culturally aware, and what are the characteristics of resilient teachers. My research has included a nine year ethnography of three Cambodian families who live in Portland, a four year study of place-based education in rural schools, and more recently a six year study of ETEP graduates who teach high school.