First and foremost I am a mom and when I think about all that I do and have done, being a parent is by far my most rewarding, most important, and most challenging role! I started my career over twenty years ago after completing my Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy. Launching right into pediatrics and specializing in mental health, I found working with children to be incredibly rewarding. As an Occupational Therapist, I rooted my practice in play: a child’s primary occupation. While I enjoyed working in the clinical setting, I was energized by the work I did as a private therapist with families: supporting parents as they addressed unique needs at home.
Seeing how integral instruction was in my work, I completed a Comprehensive Master of Arts in Special Education and began working as a Special Education Teacher in the public school setting. Teaching students with unique learning needs while working collaboratively with their families was an honor. As an educator, I was compelled to become more involved in special education policy and systems improvement. After years of working in the classroom, I obtained a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership.
In my first leadership role as Dean of Students in a large public high school, I worked closely with students who required support with social-emotional skill development, which often manifested in their school avoidance, disruptive behavior, and involvement with the juvenile justice system. Working collaboratively with a community of diverse stakeholders and community-based agencies always resulted in the most success for students, it does take a village!
Shifting gears from building to district-wide leadership, I next served as the Director of Pupil Services. Districtwide leadership afforded me the opportunity to write and secure new grants, to work with local and state politicians to inform special education policy, to serve on community-based boards in order to build cohesiveness in programming designed to address the needs of students and families, and to build my team’s capacity to become emotionally-skilled educators in order to best address the needs of the whole child.
Five years ago I took a step back and now work in the capacity of Supervisor of Pupil Services: this conscious decision was based on the needs of my family, affording me more time at home with my own children. In these five years, I also returned to private consultation to support parents as they navigate the challenges of raising unique children, and I became a Registered Yoga Teacher.
Most recently, I became a student again and in the spring of 2022, I will defend my Doctoral Dissertation, a culmination of the research I have thoroughly enjoyed completing as I pursue my Doctorate in Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning.
Founding Unplugged Us has been the culmination of two decades of work with children and parents, I am excited about the work we have ahead as a community of like-minded parents!