Occupation: English teacher at Duluth East High School
What do you do? Discuss books through real-life experiences, stories and news; make it relevant.
Years in your job: 12
Education: English degree from the University of Minnesota in 2002; education degree in literature and communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2004; and a master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn., in 2009
Family: Husband, Dan (yes, we have the same name); and kids Ben, 10, Alaina, 8, and Cate, 4
Favorite place in the Northland: My favorite place in the Northland is the end of Minnesota Point beyond the beach house near the airport. My husband and I bring our kids to this place often on impromptu outings that turn into lifelong memories. They love to play in the water and sand and look at the cityscape blend into the blue hills up the shore. We love to walk amongst the beach grass and old pines to the remains of Duluth’s first lighthouse. It’s so much fun to show my children these places and discover their perspective. We also had a tradition of taking Daisy, our ball-obsessed springer spaniel, here on her birthday. Since it was in early May, she was sometimes swimming with a ball in her mouth amongst the ice floes. She didn’t care though; she seemed to like the place as much as us. Park Point may be a popular place in this area, but we all have our own personal connection to this unique landscape.
Native of the area? Yes. I went to Stowe Elementary school, Morgan Park Middle School and Denfeld High School. So many things kept me here: my husband and I both have parents in Duluth; Lake Superior; woods; and quality people and education.
What do you do with your free time? Go on adventures with my kids and take pictures.
Tell us about an influential person in your life: Cathy Klaber-Hartl, a longtime teacher, mentor and friend. I often consult Cathy when conflicts arise. She always listens, doesn't judge and somehow gets me to make up my own mind.
What is your biggest accomplishment? During my secondary education training, I volunteered in longtime Denfeld English teacher Jill Lofald’s classroom. On the first day of school, Jill told the kids that no matter what happens in class, every day is a new day. I remembered this statement and decided to use it when I began teaching, yet when I first started my career, I didn’t fully comprehend the meaning of those words. Shortly after, I started my career teaching part-time as the Truancy Intervention Program Teacher at Unity High School. I had students who were chronically absent during middle school and as ninth-graders were mandated to be in my class. I taught these kids three hours of English every day. It was a highly challenging position, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything. At the start, I didn’t know what kind of a teacher I was, what my philosophy was, or what my classroom management type was. The classroom environment changed constantly, day to day, even hour to hour. It was during this first year at Unity that I fully realised what Jill Lofald had said: My students needed me to approach each day and every hour with a renewed outlook. I worked at the alternative setting at Unity for eight years. I spent much of my personal time and money helping to make my students be and feel successful. I love teaching at East, but I will always be proud of and grateful for my time spent at Unity.