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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Make a difference for kids and life-long friendships

As I reflect on my 25 years in education, I think about how it first began. I grew up knowing that education was an essential part of my life as my father was a teacher, coach, and principal of my high school and retired as a superintendent. Even with my father’s influence, education was not my first career choice. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Economics and moved to Ukiah shortly after. 


I began my professional journey with a job in the accounting department at Masonite. I worked there until Blue Shield of California opened an office in Ukiah and then worked my way up through the ranks until I was the Accounting Supervisor. All the while, I was volunteering at my children’s school as the PTO treasurer and in my children’s classrooms, reading with students once a week. Blue Shield relocated to Woodland, CA, and that’s when I decided to stay in Ukiah. 


I started volunteering in my children’s classrooms even more and was approached by the teacher about getting my teaching credential. I realized that I enjoyed working with children and being a parent; it was the best of both worlds, and I would have the same time off as my children. I pursued my teaching credential and was hired as an intern at Redwood Valley Elementary School to teach a 3,4,5 combination class. This meant that any new students enrolled would be part of my classroom! It was all exhilarating and rewarding.  


Two reasons come to mind when I think back to why I loved teaching so much. One reason is that I enjoyed every student’s unique perspective and getting to know them. The second reason is the camaraderie that I built with my colleagues. I did not have any family in town to lean on for support, so my colleagues made the difference. They were so welcoming and created an amazingly supportive environment that I will never forget, and because of that, I have made lifelong friends. 


After nine years in the classroom teaching Kindergarten through 5th-grade students, I was approached about becoming a principal. I soon became Redwood Valley Elementary School’s Principal and then Calpella Elementary School’s Principal, which was 16 years ago. I will never forget when a student from my very first class approached me at a Student of the Month ceremony and gave me the biggest hug. I was so proud of him for being recognized as a Ukiah High School student of the month. It warms my heart to see the positive outcomes one can have in our community with a life dedicated to teaching and education. 


Reflecting on my experiences, I am proud of the positive impact I have had on my students and the relationships I have formed with my colleagues. I encourage anyone interested in education to consider a career in the Ukiah Unified School District, where there are ample opportunities to make a difference in the lives of children and form lasting friendships.