What a journey! I think back and reflect on where I started and where I am now, and so eternally grateful for all that I have learned and all that I continue to learn as I develop teaching resources.
I obtained my BA degree in Psychology at the University of Central Florida in 1999, and my MS degree in Human Resources Development and Administration at Barry University in 2001. After working in Corporate America for several years upon graduating from UCF, I made a career change to the education field. I was offered a position with Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida, as a World Cultural Geography teacher in 2005 and taught for 10 years. Currently, I’m a middle school administrator receiving my Educational Specialist degree at Liberty University, this position puts me at a unique vantage point to truly see the positive impact on student learning when teachers add creativity to their lessons!
My first year of teaching Geography was definitely an eye opening experience. It was at that time I realized most of my students didn’t know the locations of the 50 states of America, and most countries. I remember looking at the map of Africa and thinking, how am I going to teach this? Then I asked the right question, “If I was a 14 year old student, how would I want to learn the countries of Africa?” Through Song! So, that night I wrote my very first song about Africa. Very nervously, I sang the song to my students the next day, and they loved it! So, over the course of 5 years, I wrote a total of 11 short Geography songs to help my students have fun while they learn. As they took their map tests, I saw them bopping to the beats of the songs in their heads, and I just smiled. I knew the songs were working, their test scores proved that! My students suggested that I market the songs to other educators and parents, so I decided, why not? However, the CD and Activity Workbook was put on the back burner; life got in the way.
In December of 2010, I received news I wasn’t quite expecting. I was diagnosed with cancer. Only 34 years old, and in good health, I didn’t foresee any major physical ailments, especially cancer. I had several surgeries, 3 months of “heavy” chemotherapy, and an additional 9 months of “light” chemo. It was at that time I reflected on my life which resulted in a life changing decision. Tomorrow is not promised, so I need to live each day to the fullest. I decided to refocus on my dreams of developing my Geography CD and workbook; I didn’t want to live with any regrets of not pursuing my goals.