I’ve always had an insatiable love for learning. As a child I grew up in a small town in northeast ND near the Canadian border (population 75) where I rode the bus to and from school everyday. I spent most of my free time outdoors climbing trees, riding my bike, creating, building forts, ice skating, and hanging with my dog and my cat as we roamed the neighborhood. I remember feeling so free as a kid and like there was something more “out there” than the vast fields of farmland that surrounded me for as far as the eye could see.
That love for learning continued after I graduated from high school and I set out to discover the “out there”. I booked a one-way ticket to Anchorage, AK to nanny for a family with a boy named Shawn who had Down Syndrome. He stole my heart. Not only did I have access to the most incredible views, hiking, and seafood, I was also living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The experience deepened my love for the natural world and Shawn helped me to discover my passion for working with kids. I decided to become an Occupational Therapist when I returned to ND and not too long after that I had a child of my own. My son followed about 4 years later. Parenthood is the best ‘hood’ and kids will teach us as much as we are teaching them if we are open to it. They softened me, taught me patience, discipline, and how to have FUN!
Fast forward to today and that daughter is 20 and my son is 17 (and I have 2 bonus kids that are 11 and 8) I feel I’ve lived a hundred lives since my kids were little! Between now and then I went back to school at UND for Nonprofit Leadership, became a certified Yoga teacher and started teaching Kids Yoga, opened a food co-op from start to finish, became a certified meditation instructor, opened a mindfulness consulting business, gave a TED talk, lead workshops and retreats, was awarded a 2 year BUSH Fellowship, and have traveled all over the U.S. More recently my husband and I traveled to Nepal to visit an orphanage that we support. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience that made me feel even more grateful for my life and all the roads I’ve traveled in life.
Because I’m multi-passionate I feel my love for learning continues to ask the question “what’s possible here?” I care deeply about community, service, and the wellbeing of others. When we feel better we do better and I try to leave people and places better than I found them.
As I continue to dwell in the space of possibility I say ‘yes’ to things that scare me a little bit. That is usually where we experience the most growth. When we feel a little fear it's just a call for courage. So as I step into this “yes” at The Innovation School, I trust this is the next beautiful step on my path to discovering more about myself and those around me. I’m so grateful for this new beginning, to share my gifts and talents with TIS, and to learn from those I will be working alongside with. Let’s discover what’s possible as we journey on this new adventure together!
The world is constantly changing. Because of these changes, I have had to continually reinvent myself, even as a seasoned teacher. These changes I have made have always been made to meet the needs of my students. This happened in the most organic way when I joined the TIS family. TIS has helped me to shed the dead blossoms and grow new ones without fear of reprisal.
I have learned to be more present and less reactive. I am more trusting, confident and empowered by the inspirational women with whom I work. I’m still blooming.
The goal of The Innovation School is to help students indulge in their natural curiosities.
The teachers get out of their way, nudge them a bit, give them choices and encourage them to take responsible risks. We offer a safe and caring environment where each student feels loved and valued.
The Innovation School values Projects, Passions, Peers, and Play. The hands-on projects create teamwork, exploration, and inquiry. These qualities are vital for our students as they become lifelong learners.
The classrooms are multi-age which build connections, encourage patience and develop learners. We grow together by sharing mutual respect while helping one another discover our strengths and passions.
The value of building connections, talking through difficult issues, being authentic, being intentional, being flexible and being able to laugh at oneself adds to the variety of life lessons we learn together.
TIS has taught me all the things I have listed. If I could grow in this rich environment, just imagine the amount of growth the students experience as they bloom here.
The Innovation School has been my garden. I blossomed as an educator and a person. TIS watered me with love and the passion for learning and growth. The saying “bloom where you are planted” means a great deal to me as I begin a new season of my life. The memories of TIS will be a part of me forever. I’m still blooming.
I wish the parents-
enough intention to keep TIS blooming
enough curiosity to learn and grow along with your kids
enough compassion to partner together with the staff
my heartfelt thanks for sharing your kids with me
I wish the students-
enough courage to grow where you are planted
enough risk to be creative, curious and passionate
my gratitude for allowing me to be a part of their life
And to my colleagues: I wish you-
enough smiles to keep your attitude bright
enough challenges so you will continue to grow
enough inspiring lessons to strengthen your desire to teach
enough support from parents and one another
enough balance in your life beyond teaching
enough years of teaching to look forward to retirement
enough time to grow and continue to bloom
A collection of thoughts, ideas and reflections from our educators, students, and families.