With the utmost confidence, I can genuinely say, I get paid to do what I love. Growing up I never envisioned myself in the teaching profession, but as fate would have it, I am in my 16th year. My dad was a teacher and coach in the public school system for 35 years. I am sure his joy for teaching and life subconsciously weighed heavily in my pursuit of the profession. Three months after I graduated college I found myself teaching alongside my father at the high school I graduated from in Burbank, CA. While that was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world (getting to teach with my dad), my passion for teaching didn’t fully develop until I spent the next four years teaching, coaching, advising, and dorm-parenting at New Hampshire boarding school called New Hampton School. Here, because of great mentors, I was able to truly cultivate a passion for embracing the philosophy of developing the whole child.
For the past 10 years, I have tried my very best to carry that holistic approach into my classes at Ensworth. At the end of the day, what I desire most is that the student not only knows I care for his or her learning about the skills of becoming a historian but also experience what I believe to be the true meaning of success. My greatest mentor, John Wooden said it best, “Success is someone giving their best to become the best they are capable of becoming.” This is what drives me to teach and coach every day.
First and foremost, I believe energy is essential for a classroom to thrive and that competition is a language most middle school students speak. Maybe it means me dressing up like a caveman and holding court cases about the social issues of pre-historic man. In Grade 6 Ancient World History, students dress up like Egyptians and Greeks for a month and participate in our Olympic games. We finish the year by debating who was the greatest ancient civilization in a March Madness tournament fashion. In Grade 8, U.S. History, the emphasis shifts and students express their mind through debates, Harkness discussions, and navigating research with “history labs.”
- I lead worship for K-4th graders at Crosspoint Community Church in Bellevue
- Played for the 2001 Rose Bowl Champions–The Washington Huskies
- My chair in class is an exercise ball.
- I once sang “All Good Gifts” in the musical, Godspell.
- I have an alter ego, DJ Jazzy J that does “wrap up” sessions at the end of flipped skills videos.
- My family loves to play games all the time. Some of our favorites include, “Settlers of Catan” and “Beyond Balderdash.”
- Growing up, I wanted to be a country singer, now I live in Nashville and get to teach some of my idol’s kids.