I have been working in the field of education for over thirty years. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Elementary Education, I began my career teaching reading and language to sixth graders in Memphis, Tennessee. I later moved to the beautiful hills of Middle Tennessee where I became a teaching principal. I taught grades 5-8, made administrative decisions, and occasionally shoveled coal to keep us warm. What an experience!
During the late 70’s and early 80’s I found myself in a third grade classroom in Gainesboro, Tennessee, before returning home to Kentucky to receive my Master’s Degree as a reading specialist from Western Kentucky University. Throughout my career I wrote. Writing was my favorite hobby. I wrote children’s books, stories, programs, theme-based activities, plays---anything that I could use in the classroom.
Upon receiving my Reading Specialist degree, I found myself wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, and writing curriculum for the Tennessee State Department of Education. I was the Reading/Language Consultant for grades K-8 in charge of designing the state’s curriculum from framework to activities. My hobby had become the main focus of my life. During my stint in an office, I had the great pleasure to conceive and develop the Homecoming ‘86 Storytelling Calendar. It included pictures and activities based on traditional, indigenous Tennessee stories.
The calendar caught the eye of the nice people at Silver-Burdett and Ginn textbook company and I began another chapter of my life. My dream had come true! People were paying me to come up with ideas and activities. I was gainfully employed as a professional writer. My full-time hobby was wonderful except for one little thing. I really missed kids. I kept asking myself, “I wonder if these ideas will work with real kids?” Such is life in the Ivory Tower!
Back to the classroom for me! I knew I was really in trouble when I started stopping kids at the grocery store just to ask them how they were doing in school. So...for the next fifteen years I worked at Rose Park Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee. There I was happy as could be, teaching Reading and Language to 5th and 6th graders, hatching ideas and testing them out.
It was many ideas, activities and programs later that Grammar Graphics was born, not in an Ivory Tower, but on the front lines where survival of the fittest counts! I’ve been teaching, consulting, and presenting Grammar Graphics ever since.
I’m still in the classroom on the front lines and still writing. I like to think that I have the best of both worlds. I’m creating programs for real kids to be used by real teachers in real classrooms. And I know these programs work. Why? Because I’ve used them myself!