I was born and raised in Luzerne County, PA and attended local public high school. After college I moved to New York where I met my future husband. After additional moves up and down the east coast to support my education and career, we finally settled in Malvern, PA right before the birth of our second child. We chose Malvern because of the community and importantly the school district, as well as the proximity to family.
We have grown to love the sense of neighborhood in Malvern and the local events – the farmers market, Malvern Blooms Festival, and Halloween parade – that allow us to further engage with community. I have two young children, a daughter currently in 2nd grade in the Great Valley School District (GVSD) and a son who will be entering the GVSD for Kindergarten in 2022. I also have a niece who is a student in elementary school in the GVSD.
As residents of East Whiteland Township, our family’s intention is to continue to live and thrive in this community. As such, I know the value of education to a community – and how an educated community increases the value of that community. I want to contribute to the success of our community through long-term beneficial decision of the School Board.
As a parent of a GVSD student I see the impacts of school district decisions on a personal level. I have the expertise and the heart to think beyond what my own family needs and experiences to consider what others in the district may need and how their situation may be quite different from my own. I want to ensure every family’s voice is heard in decisions and believe I can help liaise some of these conversations for fuller inclusion of all GVSD community members in decision making.
As a caregiver, I understand the desire to protect and nurture our children so they can thrive. The last year has asked more of caregivers than ever before and we all did the best we could to ensure the health, safety and growth of our children. I want to celebrate the successes of every caregiver – especially during this past academic year, in how they have nurtured and educated their children and how we can draw on those experiences to enrich the education of all students.
As a tax payer in the GVSD the importance of being fiscally responsible both to the community and to the district is an important issue for me. Community members deserve transparency and respect for how their funds are being spent. Likewise, district students, families, and faculty deserve access to the resources they need to thrive during their public education experience. I am committed to thoughtful conversations that respect staying within budget while thinking creatively in how to ensure students, families, and faculty have what they need to continue to excel.
As an educational researcher I have deep knowledge and expertise regarding how educational decisions – from curriculum to teacher professional development to school climate – impact our students and their ability to thrive. I want to apply over 20 years of expertise to the School Directors’ conversations to pose thoughtful and challenging questions around important decisions. I also want to contribute to the Board’s collective expertise when weighing considerations such as which curriculum to fund or how to expand the KDM campus with a lens of effective school practices honed from years of scientific data collection for my profession.
If elected to the School Board, I want to ensure the health, mental health, and wellbeing of our students and teaching faculty is properly addressed in the coming years and remains a consideration in every decision we make as a community for the GVSD. The last two school years have seen unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the district to support students and families. However, the impacts of COVID-19 on our students – both academically and social emotionally – as well as our teaching faculty and school climate will be felt for years to come.
I attended Pittston Area High School, graduating as Valedictorian. I then attended Yale University where I obtained my Bachelors in Psychology with Distinction. While at Yale, I also completed the teacher prep program, including student teaching, and graduated as a licensed Birth – Kindergarten teacher. I attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for my master’s degree and completed my Ph.D. at Fordham, both in Applied Developmental Psychology.
I continued to further my education by completing a Post-Doctoral fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with the Language Diversity and Literacy Development Research Group. Throughout my postsecondary education I have focused on the learning and development of children, especially from birth to grade 12.
I have been an educational researcher for my entire career. This occupation has allowed me to explore, collect data, and share information about educational practices with students, families, teachers, school administrators, and communities. I’ve had the privilege to research and understand the impact of mental health clinics in public schools, the effectiveness of Pre-school and Kindergarten curriculum, how multilingual students navigate public school settings, and how to use data sets on large numbers of students to understand trends in learning across the country.
I’ve been deeply involved in the development of curriculum and curriculum supplements for math and literacy – including collecting and analyzing the data on their impact on student achievement. I have led numerous gold standard studies to truly understand the impact of commercially available student curriculum on academics, attitudes, and beliefs as well as school climate and communicated these results to the community and school districts to celebrate successes and identify opportunities for improvement.
Most recently I assisted Representative Kristine Howard’s office with the creation of legislation to explore the impact of COVID-19 related education changes on students’ social emotional and physical well-being as well as their academic success (PA HR952).
In every position I held I was responsible for managing large teams of diverse and talented individuals to accomplish complex goals. Importantly I was responsible for interacting with students, families, school administrators, and most often school boards to describe research projects and share results. My professional career has allotted me the facility and comfort of working with a school district and the invested school community.