Teacher Credential 1993
School of Education
March 1, 2012
“The rich instruction I received through the UCI credential program prepared me to be a successful teacher at any grade.”
My educational journey began at UC Berkeley in 1992. As an ambitious and eager-minded Political Science major, my aspirations were to become an attorney. Yet, in the midst of my pursuit toward a career in law, I encountered a life-changing experience the summer following my freshman year. In those amazing couple of months, I was fortunate enough to work with a diverse group of high-spirited children at the Tustin Boys and Girls Club. The students’ infectious desire to learn led me to realize how passionate I was about making positive differences in the lives of children; that summer sparked my desire to become an educational leader. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science, I went on to attain my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at UC Irvine.
In August of 1993 I was offered my first teaching position in a first grade classroom at Viejo Elementary in the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD). I couldn’t believe I was going to teach first grade students who hadn’t yet learned how to read! While my apprehension was understandable since my student teaching experiences had been in third and fifth grade classrooms where students were reading independently, I was thoroughly excited nonetheless; the rich instruction I had received through the UCI credential program had prepared me to be a successful teacher at any grade. Looking back, my trepidation was merely a catalyst for success—I stand today a nineteen-year teaching veteran, having taught a full eighteen years in a first grade classroom! To say I have found my niche being a mentor, educator, and lover of enthusiastic six- and seven-year-olds is truly an understatement!
Following my first year of teaching, the opportunity presented itself for me to help open a new school in our district—Hidden Hills Elementary. I embarked upon the new adventure with excitement and an overwhelming desire to touch the lives of children and went on to teach first grade for eleven consecutive years. During this time, I pursued and obtained my Masters of Science degree in Education with an emphasis in Reading from California State University, Fullerton and earned my Language Arts Specialist Credential. I also acted as the grade level lead teacher, worked on our School Site Council, and mentored student teachers. My passion to ignite the minds and hearts of children had truly taken flight—teaching first grade had become such an immense source of joy for me. The challenges and rewards of teaching young students how to read were unbelievably fascinating and genuinely unparalleled.
After eleven years at Hidden Hills, I continued my teaching journey at Chaparral Elementary where I have been teaching first grade for the past seven years. Acting as grade level lead for first grade and participating on the Action Planning/Leadership Team allows me the opportunity to develop and strengthen the future of Chaparral Elementary. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to work as a mentor teacher with the UC Irvine paired teaching model and mentor thirteen teacher candidates since the spring of 2008. Being a model for these young, developing teachers and demonstrating to them what high standards in the classroom look like has been an incredible experience. The future educators I have been able to guide and watch grow also have has the opportunity to observe me take an active role in collaboration within my professional learning environment as well as employ research-based best practices within my own classroom. My colleagues rewarded my professional efforts when I was named Teacher of the Year at Chaparral Elementary in January of 2012.
Throughout my professional career within Capistrano Unified School District, in addition to teaching, another aspect in which I have been heavily involved is working as a leader on the district level. With a love of teaching reading, I have acted as a district staff development trainer in guided reading, participated as an Accelerating Literacy Coach, and trained new teachers on first grade language arts components. More recently, I have begun to work closely with other dedicated educators to revise the district’s primary math assessment. Heavy involvement within the evolving community of thriving leaders has provided me with an abundance of new insights.
While much of my time is spent being a committed and dedicated teacher and mentor, I cherish my loving husband and two active children. Most weekends you can find me either at my son’s baseball or soccer games or at my daughter’s gymnastic meets. Running is my daily hobby, a true passion of mine. Personally, I have completed fourteen marathons as well as numerous other races. In addition to completing the 2000 and 2001 Los Angeles marathons as a top 20 female finisher, I have successfully run the Boston Marathon on three occasions.
Throughout my life, I have learned that through hard work and perseverance any goal is truly achievable with the right mindset. I make it a priority to embody and model these and other values of commitment on a daily basis. My hope is that my young first graders, student teachers, colleagues, and two children will see the emphasis I place on dedication and incorporate those values into their own lives.