ABOUT MY WORK
I'm excited to have recently begun a non-profit organization, Leading for Children, as a movement to infuse the field of early learning with optimism, leadership, and coherence, three attributes I believe are vital to ensuring success for all children and their families. During my career in early learning, my work has focused on guiding educators to understand and embrace the importance of relationships as the foundation for learning. Whether I am with teachers, coaches, or agency leaders, I establish relationships with them by listening and learning about their wisdom – the strengths they bring to their work and to their programs. By helping them to recognize their own wisdom we can then use that as the basis of moving forward.
How I approach my work has a history: Perhaps five teachers throughout my school career — starting in kindergarten and continuing all the way through post-graduate work — took time to get to know me, and of course their other students, and used what they learned about us to guide instruction. These teachers, my mentors, continue to inspire me. In 1980, after completing my master’s degree at Bank Street College of Education, I began teaching 8 and 9 year olds at the Bank Street School for Children. This provided me with an opportunity to collaborate with exceptional colleagues and solidified my strong philosophical beliefs about teaching and learning: the importance of relationships, using conversation to promote thinking, the power of observation, and the principles and value of experiential learning.
I love hearing from students I taught more than 30 years ago. It renews my enthusiasm for the art of teaching when they tell me how I made a difference for them because they felt a sense of belonging in our classroom, they loved the rituals, and they had the confidence to try things for the first time.
Some years later my deep interest in the role of relationship building in teaching and learning led me to advanced graduate work in cross cultural communication. At about this time I left the classroom to begin consulting. Through study and experience, I came to appreciate that the most effective way to assist my clients as they engage in creative problem solving is to listen, interpret, synthesize, and communicate what I’ve heard in ways they can use to accomplish their goals. I assess the dynamics of a group, think strategically, identify critical issues, and adapt my style to a group's needs. To each of my clients, I bring passion, enthusiasm, and more than 35 years of experience as consultant, facilitator, presenter, coach, product developer, author, college instructor, classroom teacher, and student.