"Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can -
there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did."
Sarah Caldwell

I have always been a voracious learner. Whether enrolled in my own classes, vicariously enjoying the academic pursuits of my children, investigating personal interests, or broadening my professional knowledge, I take great pleasure in and derive much satisfaction from learning across all disciplines. My formal education includes broad content knowledge in the humanities as well as in business administration. I have studied three languages (Mandarin, French, and Spanish); Asian, American, and European histories; mathematics and statistics; and modern theater and classical music. My informal and continuing education has been informed by a dedication to reading and hands-on experience working as a school-level parent coordinator for “Odyssey of the Mind,” "Junior Great Books," and “Art in the Classroom” in Manhattan and Arlington County elementary schools.
Can magnets attract objects through a plastic tray?

In my recent decade of employment as director of a cooperative preschool,one of my principle responsibilities was assessing students’ child development milestones and serving as liaison with Parent Infant Education (PIE) and ChildFind programs in Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Alexandria. In this role, I developed a strong foundational understanding and working knowledge of the special education process. I participated in child study and IEP meetings with both organizations and coordinated all in-school services for occupational, physical, and speech therapists as well as behavioral assistants for identified students with autism spectrum disorders and Downs Syndrome.

In addition, in fulfillment of continuing education requirements and an innate interest spurred by my students, I enrolled in workshops and attended seminars at many institutions in the DC metropolitan area including the Lab School of Washington, the Ivymount School in Rockville, National Institute of Mental Health, George Mason's Education School Professional Development programs, Stanley Greenspan’s Floortime Center, the Kennedy Krieger School, and many sensory processing workshops (a particular personal interest) by Carol Stock Kranowitz. Years prior to my coursework at William and Mary, I earned academic credit in four education courses at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education.

I enjoy math not simply as an academic exercise but also as a brain challenge and a critical life skill. In my Wharton coursework, I supplemented my earlier calculus studies with math-based business classes in statistics, accounting, and finance. Following my formal college studies, I taught Algebra I in an international school, tutored 5th graders in basic math facts, and exercised my math muscles working as a bookkeeper for three years and serving as Treasurer and President of parent-teacher and community organizations.

During my preschool tenure, I applied a Reggio Emilia approach to mathematics with a structure informed by the Virginia Foundation Blocks for Early Learning. Our curriculum provided our preschoolers with daily opportunities for exciting math play and investigation in order to expand their number sense and their personal experiences with addition, subtraction, and comparisons. Our classrooms were math-rich environments filled with appealing manipulatives, student-centered graphs, and teachers' math support and encouragement. In addition, our preschool devoted an entire room to block play where students spent regularly scheduled weekly times exploring large-scale unit blocks.

As a parent, I have experienced the hands-on approach of my children's TERC/Investigations curriculum. My William and Mary education explained the research that supports this sometimes-controversial problem-solving, experiential approach. In addition, at William and Mary, I have extended my knowledge of math instruction in a math methods class, participation in a math professional development day, and creation and implementation of math lessons developed for my autumn practicum's math portfolio. I have also learned specific instructional strategies to develop students' strong math foundations.

Reading and Language Arts
My life is infused with books and wordplay. Reading is an essential part of my world. Our family's shelves and tables are piled high with English, American, and Chinese literature; nonfiction accounts of American and Asian history, travel journals, and scientific essays; biographies of prominent world historical figures, scientists, and polar explorers; and stacks of The New Yorker, Atlantic, and The Economist magazines. Our family is also highly amused with the manipulation of words, deriving great pleasure from our voluminous collection of word games, our considerable time playing bi-coastal online Scrabble, and competing to be the first to solve The New York Times crossword puzzles. We are word hungry.

I have brought this energy and interest in words and literature to my classrooms. At Rock Spring, I supplemented our strong focus on literacy with word walls, classroom labeling, and a tactile alphabet project in our prekindergarten classroom. Over a two year period, I organized, cataloged, and expanded our 2000-volume school library to include a large collection of big books for shared reading, CDs and tapes for use during circle time and classroom listening centers, and props and flannel boards to extend our most popular read-alouds. In addition, I developed and supervised our prekindergarten's Reader's Theater of Ed Young's Cat and Rat in celebration of Chinese New Year and created photo-illustrated books for the classrooms including an annual Alphabet Yearbook.

"Cat and Rat" Readers' Theater at Rock Spring Preschool

In my William and Mary Masters practicum, I tutored a third grader for eight one-on-one reading sessions. After assessing the student's needs by administering the Reading Inventory for the Classroom, I developed a program to improve the student's recall of passage details. By using sticky notes to signal a need to pause and reflect on meaning, the student enhanced his comprehension while reading. A follow-up RIC assessment at the conclusion of our two-month session reflected this improvement with an increased score. In addition to these tutorials, I taught a guided reading session to a small group of second graders and a read, write, think aloud to my full third grade class.

Social Studies
For the last thirty years, my education and life have been infused with an international perspective. I have studied, taught, and lived in Asia and maintain strong friendships with students, colleagues, and neighbors from countries around the world including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Morocco, Finland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Lesotho. With such exposure, I naturally have a strong respect and curiosity for world cultures and will certainly bring this passion to my future elementary classroom.

In my graduate studies, I was thrilled to coordinate my William and Mary Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction classwork with my student teaching at Matoaka Elementary School. I was able to channel my natural curiosity about world cultures into a unit about the empire of Mali. First, I worked with three colleagues to develop a comprehensive unit about the empire of Mali and then was fortunate to have the opportunity to adapt this work into one week of lessons for my third grade class.

At my preschool, I introduced a popular annual Chinese New Year celebration that is still referenced by my students and their parents long after graduation. This year, our Chinese New Year greetings included messages such as:
Chinese New Year presentation

  • "Happy Chinese New Year! Nora has now decided that the two places she wants to visit when she grows up are New York and China - I think the fascination with China stems directly from your wonderful influence on the kids at RSCP. We miss you!"
  • "So miss your CNY celebrations! To this day, my children still love to celebrate. In the 2nd grade they are studying ancient China so on Friday they are having a big celebration...and of course I am volunteering."
  • "The kids decided to wear red tomorrow! I will going on the 2nd grade fieldtrip to Chinatown tomorrow."
  • "We've been reading Cat and Rat this week at bedtime!"
  • "I think of you whenever I hear something about the Chinese New Year. We'll wear red tomorrow!"

One of the greatest pleasures in working with children is observing and participating in their discoveries of the natural world. A preschool science curriculum is a platform for wonder. Together, we investigated scientific subjects that inspired our young students including such diverse topics as worms, weather, groundhogs, shadows, mud, beans, bears, the solar system, magnets, plants, and habitats. As a parent, I have been involved in more than a dozen science fair projects. This year, I participated in an elementary science fair as a classroom instructor. I structured a science investigation where the students created and tested the frequency of different length pendulums. In leading these small groups, I discovered the considerable energies of twenty-two engaged third graders in testing one hypothesis.

Simple Machines Discovery Circus, Lever Station

Already enthusiastic about investigating scientific phenomena with the third graders in my practicum, I was excited to learn of a hands-on center model for exploring science in my autumn William and Mary science methods course. This "discovery circus" structure dovetails well with my goal of providing active learning experiences for students. As part of my practicum, I worked with two peers to develop a six-station discovery circus on animal adaptations. We supervised this circus as a group to a second grade class and I later revised and presented this circus with my cooperating teacher to two third grade classes. Recently, I launched my student teaching with another discovery circus I created about Simple Machines. Again, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to supervise this discovery circus with two separate classes thus allowing me to refine each station to optimize learning.

Health and Art
In my work at Rock Spring Cooperative Preschool, I was certified bi-annually in CPR, First Aid, and medication administration (epi-pen). In addition, I reviewed and implemented health and safety standards for the preschool including an approved snack list for our parent volunteers to contribute and a peanut-free policy for the entire school. In terms of health instruction, I coordinated and supervised a discrete creative movement class that included basic gymnastics, dance, ball skills, and stretching. I also integrated physical activities into our daily classroom instruction through the use of Brain Gym, the Active Alphabet, and classic movement activities centered around Ella Jenkins, Greg and Steve, and other musicians.

I have extensive experience in early childhood art education dating back to the early 1990s where I first attended art education courses at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Later, I attended art classes at the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Lab School and Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Again, I draw heavily from Reggio Emilia and have a strong viewpoint that art is personal and should belong to the child, not to the adult instructor. In other words, if not providing instruction on specific technique, I believe that children should be free to create their art without the intrusion of adult modeling. I do believe that art has a role in the elementary classroom, particularly as an alternative means for expression for visual learners.
Test Scores

Praxis II: 200 / 200, ETS Recognition of Excellence Award
VCLA: 600 / 600
VRA: 280 / 300
Praxis I: Exempt with SAT scores
GRE: Verbal 800, Quantitative 730, Analytical Writing 5.5