I was born in Portland, Oregon. My dad used to hold me over his shoulder and pat my colicky backside while he studied to be an English teacher. When I was in first grade we moved to Astoria, Oregon where I attended school in the same building that can be seen in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Kindergarten Cop.” In third grade my family moved to Longview, Washington (I guess we really liked the Columbia River.) I walked over a mile to school because I hated the noise and smells of the school bus. I loved school, though. One of my favorite teachers was my fifth grade teacher Miss Kotlaroff. She was a great artist, so we always had some cool art project to do. I also loved to read. My favorite books were mysteries. My family couldn’t afford to buy books, but we went to the public library every week. The librarians knew us by name. I can still visualize the corner of the Longview Public Library that held the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books. That was a favorite place for me!After grade school, I moved on to Monticello Junior High. My biggest trauma of seventh grade was that my dad was a teacher at my school, oh no! The thing I loved about junior high was being a member of the band. I played trombone (the band teacher picked that instrument for me because I was tall and had long arms.) I especially liked going to basketball games and playing in the pep band. We were called the “Monticello Mustangs” and we loved to play a song called “The Horse.” From there I moved on to RA Long High School. I did pretty well in most classes, but I had to work really hard in math. I never could figure out those application problems. I was fairly popular in high school, but not pretty enough to be a cheerleader. Instead, I was elected president of lots of clubs including Honor Society and Band. Besides playing the trombone, I also played piano quite well. When I graduated in 1976, I decided to go to Central Washington University because they offered me a music scholarship. I loved university! College was a blast. I majored in music and minored in both elementary education and special education.TEACHING
After graduating in 1980, I was hired by the Pe Ell School District to teach third grade. What an adventure! In my first year, I taught 31 eight year olds. It was a difficult year, but I loved it! I went on to teach a total of 3 years in Pe Ell and then moved to Raymond, Washington where I taught middle school. One year of 7th and 8th graders was enough. In 1984 I moved to Centralia to teach third grade at Fords Prairie Elementary. My favorite part of third grade was teaching about the history of Centralia. The third grade teachers wrote a history book, took students on community field trips, and produced a musical called the “Centerville Hoedown.” (Centerville was the original name of the town we now call Centralia.) It was fun to teach children to act, sing, dance, and play musical instruments.I spent eleven years in third grade, and then finally graduated to fourth grade at Oakview Elementary! I enjoy teaching fourth graders. I especially like the subject of Washington State History. Another favorite subject is math. Even though I didn’t enjoy being a mathematical student, I love teaching about math! I think we have better ways of explaining the meaning of numbers now than teachers did when I was in fourth grade.
I could teach math, but even after several years of teaching, I was having trouble teaching one subject: writing. Because of this, I participated in some writing workshops that Washington State made available to classroom teachers. Through these experiences, I became involved in scoring the state writing tests. I spent almost ten years working for Washington State in the summers, scoring student writing. Now I feel like I have overcome my teaching weakness and it has actually become a strong element of my classroom. I really enjoy seeing fourth graders improve their writing skills over the course of the year.
I have now taught over 31 years in Centralia. I enjoy working with Oakview families. I love to get to know the parents of my students and then look forward to working with those families again when a younger brother or sister enters fourth grade. In the last few years, I’ve begun to teach the next generation of “my families.” Students that I taught years ago are now the parents of my current students. It is a great blessing to have been involved with these wonderful Centralia families over so many years!
INTERESTSEven though I don’t get to play in the pep band anymore, I still enjoy being involved in music. I am the pianist for the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Centralia, and sometimes play for other community events. I still enjoy reading books, and meet once a month with a book club of friends who love to visit and discuss our latest reads. I live in a 1920’s home which I spent many years restoring from a state of disrepair. As anyone who lives in an old house knows, remodeling a historic home is a hobby that never quite ends. There’s always a home project to complete. When I get tired of projects inside the house, I like working in my flower gardens, hiking, or playing with my cat, Moonlight. I don’t have any children of my own, but I enjoy visiting and traveling with my eight nieces and nephews.