What is your role with The Center and what are you most excited about?
I am a Regional Literacy Specialist at The Center. I support Region 9, which consists of the City of Bogalusa, Tangipahoa, St. Helena, and several virtual schools in East Baton Rouge. I am most excited about spreading my love for literacy and supporting my schools and coaches in the Science of Reading.
What is your background?
I was born and raised in St. Tammany Parish where I still reside with my own family. I earned my bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, and I received my master’s degree in Educational Leadership a few years later. I have been an educator for over 17 years and have held various positions. I have served as a classroom teacher, an interventionist, a literacy coach, and an assistant principal. I have taught pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade in Louisiana and Colorado. As an assistant principal, I worked in elementary and secondary schools. As part of Louisiana’s Reading Revival, my current role allows me to provide professional development to literacy coaches and school districts in order to support students, teachers, and families in the Science of Reading
What is your favorite childhood book or literacy memory?
As a child who struggled to read simple text, reading was not something I enjoyed. However, my granny would often read and sing to me. These are memories I will treasure forever. My favorite book was Ferdinand the Bull, written by Munro Leaf. While reading, she would often seek out books that had morals or lessons and related them to life. I still love the moral of Ferdinand the Bull which is to be happy with who you are and to accept others for who they are.
Flashback to when you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was ten years old, school was not easy for me because of my reading struggles. It seemed that I had to work twice as hard as my friends and I spent many nights crying. I was so embarrassed that I could not read like my classmates, and I spent hours tutoring and working with my mom to improve my reading ability. No one could understand why things would not click for me. We tried every reading program on the market and my parents spent an endless amount of money trying to help me.
There were lots of teachers and friends who were kind and would look after me knowing I had a significant reading deficiency. However, some were not so nice. This is when I decided I would become a teacher because I would never let one of my students feel this way for struggling. I knew I was smart, but I just looked at words differently. I was determined to work hard and not let anyone make me feel “stupid” because I struggled with reading.
Even though reading was a constant battle for me, I had an outlet. This outlet seemed to help me shine in other ways. I was an outstanding soccer player. Soccer allowed me to build confidence in myself. Even though most people knew I struggled with reading, I believe most people thought of me as a soccer player. This achievement helped me get through my childhood and encouraged me to never give up on my dreams!
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
If I could be anywhere in the world right now, I would love to be back in my home. We flooded during Hurricane Ida and have been living in an apartment across town. I am thankful we are all safe and together, but I am ready to have my house back in order. It has been a long few months.
What passion projects do you have outside of work?
Outside of work, I love playing soccer. I also enjoy watching my children as they are coached by my husband, and I love watching him bring the love of the game to other children. We spend most weekends at the soccer field or playing in our backyard. I feel like it brings our family together as we all are doing what we love to do.