About Me

Dear Visitor,

Hello and welcome! I’m so happy to share my work, passions, and family with you.

In my mid-twenties, I had a bit of a career crisis. I hadn’t finished college, I was working in an after-school program and as a special ed assistant and I was more than bored. It was fun to work with kids, but there was very little creativity in my roles.

Finally, a position opened up at the school I was working (Alderwood Basics Plus) and the principal asked if I was interested in teaching their computer program. He had a vision of recreating the curriculum surrounding the lab which previously focused on typing programs and educational games like Oregon Trail. For 2001, having a lab which taught elementary students how to build computers, code in HTML, and the full suite of Office products was cutting edge. 

Elizabeth and Ducky

This was my first experience writing integrated curriculum and I had no idea where it would lead. Collaborating with the elementary teachers and then finding ways that the computer lab could enhance their teaching was thrilling. I continued this work for four year before deciding to go back to school to get my degree and teach math.

For the next four years, I taught pre-Algebra and Algebra in a middle school in Durham, North Carolina. I began to create hands-on activities, stations, and projects that seemed to reach more students than direct teaching alone. I found an entire closet full of abandoned math materials and pulled them all out to put into work in my classroom. Most of the students LOVED them and those that didn’t were already abstracting math quickly.

By this time, the move towards more and more standardized testing was starting to have a serious impact on teachers’ ability to meet their students’ needs. Instead of being allowed the time to do a project, I was required to teach certain lessons on specific days. Instead of giving my students an extra week to reach a better understanding, I was told to move forward because they would be tested by the district on Friday.

Ducky

In my last year, my students were taking a district written standardized and multiple-choice examination 41 out of the 180 days of the school year. I was dismayed, angry, and hopeless. Since I had worked on getting my Master’s degree during these years I started looking at PhD programs and educational research. A friend urged me to observe and connect with Montessori as one last effort to not quit teaching.

 

This is when I found Hershey Montessori. Although I’d learned about Maria Montessori during my teaching degree, the extent which we learned was that she was a Humanist and greatly contributed to our Kindergarten model today. Oh how hilarious knowing what I know now that those two facts are what her contribution to education was minimized to.

Becoming a generalist with Hershey was the most rewarding and impactful experience in my career. Not only was I tasked with designing their integrated math curriculum, but I got to teach fine art alongside wilderness survival, pottery alongside animal biology, literary analysis alongside waking up boarding students for breakfast. For the first time, I was able to see the whole child and how education could fit into their lives and meet their needs rather than the other way around.

It was when I had my daughter, though, that the sum of my experiences led me to focus on curriculum writing and consultation. Being blessed with time to reflect, away from teaching, and feel the intense joy of having a child recharged my soul in a way I simply cannot explain.

I loved creating the integrated projects in the math environment, but suddenly I had a broader vision. I was seeing the power of science in math and math in history, arts in everything. I was seeing full integration and the possibilities for it at the middle and high school level in a way that was rarely approached.

I began to write fully-integrated products for teachers and to look for schools that also believed in this vision. I found a few schools who were opening new programs and wanted partial integration. Then I found Charles Towne Montessori.

Not only were they building a new program and a new building, but they had a board and a group of parents who were fully excited to open a program. I was ecstatic to write their full, two-year, fully-integrated program. As it approached completion, I became more and more excited to see this program in full effect. I agreed to become the Director of their new Adolescent Program.

Now, my lovely family is here in wonderful Charleston, SC. My daughter just began her attendance in the primary classroom here at Charles Towne and I am working furiously getting their program ready to accept students next year.

Ducky (aka Daecklyn)

Ducky and Christmas Tree