Fifteen years ago, I was a first year teacher in a small town in Central Indiana. As a 23-year-old brand new teacher, I came out of college like any other young professional: ready to make a difference in the lives of students. What I didn't consider were all of the things that Teacher School didn't prepare me for. And as I navigated the complex world of education, I realized that there was more to being a teacher than I ever could have imagined. Eight months into my career, I found myself unsafe in a school for a single day, in potential danger at the hands of a student with whom I thought I had a "good" relationship. And in that one day, and the evening that followed, I experienced what has been the most transformative and defining series of events of my entire professional career.
It is because of what happened that day, and in the decade since, that I have pushed teachers and students both to allow themselves to see one another as they truly are: fellow human beings. It is my mission that all teachers and students work and attend school in a place that wants this for them, because the connections among human beings are the beginning of ensuring that no one ever feels like they are alone in a school or anywhere else.
I have since left the classroom to serve teachers on a national level in their first three years in the classroom, as there is tremendous research to show that this is when new teachers need the most support. I have worked with school corporations in the state of Indiana and spoken to teachers all over the nation to share my heart with them, to support their work in the classroom, and to coach them in their work with the clear purpose of keeping good people in the profession doing good work for our nation's children.