“Since I just graduated from Lebanon Valley College this May, this is my first teaching career, and it is an absolute honor to be a part of the St. James Academy teaching faculty and community. During my student teaching experience at Annville Elementary School in Annville, PA, I was an after-school tutor for the year for grades 3-6.
I had many very unique experiences and opportunities. I give my mom a great deal of credit for getting me involved with so many of them! When I was in elementary school, I participated in Wilson College’s summer enrichment camp (SEEDS) every summer until my 8th-grade year. After that, I became an instructor for their camps for Irish dancing and taught for a total of five summers before I began college.
In 10th grade, I did an independent study project on one-room schoolhouses and spent time at the Cliff Island School on Cliff Island off the coast of Portland, Maine. I taught a unit of study on the Southwestern Native Americans and have been back since then four other times doing other units of study on the Pony Express and Jackson Pollack.”
What does St. James Academy mean to you?
“St. James Academy means everything to me, and this is not an exaggeration. It is a gem. It is a second home to its students, teachers/faculty, and families. Every person who is a part of the SJA community is proud of the school. The school is filled with positivity, creativity, knowledge, encouragement, and individuality. Individuality and independence are emphasized and praised. It has become my own second home.”
What do you want the students to learn from you?
“I want the students to enjoy learning and recognize that learning is positive. Learning is not boring. It is fun! I want students to develop a sense of pride when they are learning and feel proud of all their accomplishments.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
“I have been riding horses (reining) since I was 3 years old. My father, Herm, has been my “coach” with riding all my life. As some of you may know already, I also have been an Irish dancer since I was in 5th grade. I competed in a regional championship competition and qualified for the world championship competition in Dublin, Ireland. I do not compete anymore but still greatly enjoy it as a hobby. Spending time with my family is most important to me.”
Who inspired you growing up?
“Since my mother was my teacher the majority of the time, we became inseparable. She is the main reason why I was so passionate about becoming a teacher, including my grandmother and aunt who were also teachers. My father has been my riding instructor and coach and gave me the passion to ride horses. Together, we compete in reining horse shows, and my mother rides along with us on trail rides.
My parents have been my role models and inspiration all my life and still are. They are my best friends, and I have always been extremely close to them. We do everything together, and I am very lucky and grateful to have had the friendship and bonds I have had with them.”
If you could meet one famous person who would it be and why?
“For fun, I would love to meet Elvis Presley. I have an appreciation for ALL music, thanks to my mother’s music history lessons, and I enjoy listening to all genres of music, but my favorite has always been Elvis Presley. I admire him for his groundbreaking musical styles, particularly with blues and rock ‘n’ roll. It would be an honor to shake his hand, look at him, and say, “Thank you for all you have done for music’s history and culture.
It amazes me that I have already met the famous person I would choose to meet today. I feel very lucky to say that I have met Jamie Wyeth at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA this winter. Meeting someone who was related to N.C. and Andrew Wyeth is an honor. The Wyeth family’s artwork has been influential with illustrations in literature, including a children’s classic, Treasure Island. Their paintings have been featured all over the world, and I grew up studying their artwork throughout my life.”
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
“I am not a fan of today’s music. I would much rather listen to big band jazz of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the crooner styling of Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, or Frank Sinatra, the oldies music of Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, and Herman’s Hermits, the incredible falsetto voice of Frankie Valli, or the inspirational, influential, and creative songwriting/singing of folk singers, including Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, and Gordon Lightfoot.
I also greatly enjoy listening to a Canadian band called Jubilee Riots (formerly known as Enter the Haggis), whom I have been great friends with for many years. Their music has evolved from Celtic Rock to Indie Roots Rock/Folk. Their transformation has been incredible, but their music has always featured incredible music (sometimes one band member will play five different instruments in one song) and lyrics.
I am an oldie at heart when it comes to music and culture. I think today’s culture is extremely difficult for children growing up, particularly if you want them to develop good morals and standards. I have a great appreciation and amount of respect for the culture in the 1950s, for example.”