Director, School of Education
Departments: School of Education
Office: Miller #204
- Advanced Graduate Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education – University of St. Thomas, 2008
- M.A. – University of St. Thomas – Curriculum and Instruction, 2005
- B.A. – University of Minnesota – English Literature with a minor in Speech Communications, 1998
- Adjunct Professor – St. Catherine University, Graduate School of Education
- Language Arts Instructor in the Osseo District, 1998-2001
- Gifted and Talented Coordinator and Language Arts Teacher in the Hopkins District, 2002-2013
- Minnesota Teacher of the Year Nominee, 2007, 2008 and 2009
- Who’s Who Among American Teachers, 2005-2009
- Claes Nobel Educator Award, 2005
Director of the School of Education
I LOVE teaching teachers! Some people struggle to go to work, but I get to go spend my days with some of the most amazing young men and women I have ever met! I live in Brooklyn Park with my hero, my husband Chad, and our Golden Retriever, Ranger. I have three kids that have left the nest, but still make me feel so loved and I’m even a young grandma of three. They call me “Nana” because I’m way too cool to be a granny! When I’m not teaching or spending time with my family I love to ride bike trails, read, and travel. I’m also a huge Shakespeare buff!
What are your areas of expertise?
Before coming to NCU I was a high school English teacher for 14 years—most of that time at Hopkins Public Schools. I truly believe that teaching is one of the most influential and rewarding mission fields you can serve in. I have taken all that I have learned from my best days in the classroom to my biggest failures and I now use that to prepare students to wield their teacher super powers! I have a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Minnesota and my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Thomas. My commitment to make sure ALL my students learn and grow inspired me to go back to become certified in gifted education as well. Right now I am in the dissertation phase of my doctoral studies at the University of St. Thomas. I am researching the impact of affective teacher behavior and performance skills by finalists for Teacher of the Year. I am striving to determine how we prepare education students to be the kind of teacher their students never forget for all the right reasons. Whenever I get the chance, I also enjoy teaching literature classes at NCU. I believe that stories are God’s miracle tool for getting people to listen and engage.
What do you love about teaching at North Central?
The students, of course! I love that whether it’s in a large class discussion or sitting over a cup of coffee, I really get to know my students on a personal level. In fact, I go through a grieving process every graduation because it is so hard to say goodbye. However, I feel so blessed to be a part of the journey and help them launch their careers in education. Let’s be real, life is messy and often hard. When you share all those moments with each other, it becomes so much more than just a class—we are a family. We grow through what we go through and I love being a part of a school that really lets me love on and be loved by students as my brothers and sisters in Christ.
What are your favorite classes to teach?
That’s not a fair question to ask! It’s like asking a parent to name their favorite child! I really do love all the classes I teach but I think I get the most “nerdy” and excited in my Shakespeare course and have some of my favorite lessons in Educational Psychology. I love the energy and buzz that comes with a class of 35, but also live for the closeness and sweet moments that come in a small methods course with my communication arts education majors. I am always asking for student feedback because this is their class and I want it to exceed their expectations. My favorite question to ask my students in discussion is, “So what?” This is not to be flippant. What I’m asking is -so what about this is so important? Why should we care? What’s the point? What do we learn from this? In teaching and in learning you have to consider the purpose behind the content and get to the heart of the matter. My students are my “so what” because they continue to inspire me to be the best I can be to help them achieve their goals.
Why study education at NCU?
There are many schools that offer education as a major, but here we believe it is a calling. Our motto in the School of Education is, “Enter inspired, leave empowered.” Teaching is so much more than content and methods. The reason why so many new teachers leave or lose their passion for teaching is because they didn’t go in with their superpowers developed. God makes all the difference. When you study education at NCU we pray for you, mentor you, and prepare you to not just be a great teacher, but to also be a servant in one of the most demanding and challenging professions there is. What you do matters, but whom you do it with matters so much more. God is your superpower and without him, it’s so hard to get through the rough days as a teacher. When you study education at NCU you become part of our family. We launch you into teaching, but we are still here to support you, answer your questions, and even get a cup of coffee when you really need to vent. It is that kind of mental, spiritual, and personal support that makes us unique. You will get a high-quality education, a professional license in a field that really needs you, AND a forever family.