Title: Instructor, Teachers College
Department: Elementary Education
Hometown: West Linn, Oregon
How long have you been working at WGU Missouri? 1 year as of June 12th!
What did you do before you started at WGU Missouri? Before my WGU journey started in 2017 I was a researcher, and educator, with a passion for diversity and social justice issues that spanned from the importance of cross cultural competency to the "school-to-prison pipeline" phenomenon currently plaguing at risk American youth. I worked as an editor/reviewer for The Journal of Transformative Leadership and Policy studies, a peer-reviewed academic journal that explores learning, equity and achievement for all students. My research included an analysis of full service community school programs on student success within Vallejo Unified School District in California, as well as examining intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to student motivation in Elementary English classrooms in the Gyeonggi-do region of South Korea. At the K-12 level my previous positions encompassed working in technology, special education, the Federal CalPROMISE grant program and competency based academia within Calistoga Unified, Elk Grove Unified and Ravendale-Termo Elementary school districts within California. Within higher education I previously taught English courses to adult special needs students at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.
What was your proudest moment at WGU Missouri? Every day I have proud moments just being a part of the WGU family. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that I have the privilege to serve students here with so many other wonderful people.
What is your favorite thing about working at WGU Missouri? The culture! WGU has a culture that puts students first. We strive to do whatever we can to help a student succeed. It has been such an honor to be surrounded by a community of educators who share this vision of student success.
What has surprised you most about working for WGU Missouri? When I first heard about WGU and their program I thought it was too good to be true. WGU seemed like the actualization of the higher education dream: High quality, Competency-based, Affordable, Flexible and Student centered. As it turns out, everything I had heard about WGU is REAL. Having an affordable, high quality education that is relevant to students is what WGU is all about. We have a University that truly puts students first. I’m able to help students reach their own goals while also knowing that this journey is affordable and will be useful for them in their career. Even now when I stop to think about it I’m hit with an overwhelming sense of amazement that an institution made this and continues to make this happen.
What was your first job? My first job was when I was 16. I was the first dog wash/doggie daycare attendant for a local doggy daycare and dog wash company that had just opened in my hometown. Being around dogs all day, a teenagers dream job!
What did you want to be when you were growing up? As an animal lover I initially gravitated toward being a veterinarian. My senior year of high school my English teacher was so passionate and inspiring that I knew I had to go into education instead. Ms. Murray changed my life with her belief that we as young students were just beginning our life journey and had limitless potential. My goal since then has been to touch each student and ignite that same sense of passion and self-worth.
What is your favorite thing to do in your downtime? We live on a farm in Fredericktown, Missouri. Downtime includes sitting on the porch appreciating our farm, family, animals and planning on how to take our homesteading adventures to the next level!
If you could learn any skill instantly what would it be? I would love to be skilled with musical instruments. I have several family members who have never had lessons and have the gift/skill to be able to just pick up an instrument and play. I can play the marimba, piano and viola but have worked so hard to learn the few melodies I know for each one. It would be incredible have that skill of being able to pick up an instrument and just “know” how to play it.