My journey as an educator began working with children from city schools as an Environmental Educator in the New England region. For many students this was their first experience outside of the metropolitan area. I would spend days in the woods with them exploring the forest, wading through streams, teaching ecology and team building. I saw the spark of excitement light up in their eyes. These were powerful experiences and I realized that my passion to connect children with their natural world lead me to want to create more meaningful and long term connections. I enrolled in the Masters of Education program at Antioch University New England, which focused heavily on integration, project and place based learning, creating constructivist curriculum and building a responsive classroom community. I completed my Teacher training in 2012 at Southwest Charter School as an intern with the Middle School program, which focuses on place based education. I am passionate about getting students out into the community and using our local neighborhood as a classroom. I love hiking and camping. I am very fond of fairytales and tall trees.
I’m a born and raised Oregonian; however quite the wanderer. Since my childhood, where I roamed the nearby forests of Oregon City on an almost daily basis, I’ve always sought to explore new places. I feel the most alive, inspired and invigorated when in an unfamiliar place. After receiving my Master’s degree in Education at Portland State University, I moved to South Korea to teach English at a public elementary school. Being separated from the usual influences of home, I began to really explore my various passions. I became assistant organizer of a local hiking and climbing group, travelled around SE Asia regularly and got involved with organizations assisting North Korean refugees seeking asylum in South Korea.
After two and half years of living in South Korea, I took a job teaching on The Peace Boat, a Japan based ship dedicated to building connections with non-profit organizations around the world. The premise of building these connections is that a problem faced by a community anywhere, should be a concern of communities everywhere. Aboard, I partnered with queer friends from Australia to host workshops related to gender and sexuality. As well as being a part of a truly unique floating community, I can proudly say that I have circumnavigated the globe via ship! Waking up and looking out your porthole and being in a new country is a pretty rad feelin, especially if it’s Easter Island!
During my time working and living abroad, the importance of reaching beyond one’s comfort level became absolutely clear to me. This is a value I strive to continually fulfill, as well as instill in my students. Once back in the states, I worked for an outdoor community garden education program through Southwest Community Center and a Reggio inspired Head Start program before ending up here at Trillium.
Within the classroom, I value curiosity, play, research, a sense of oneself as an active member of many communities, and building connections with the natural world. My current inspirations come from The Reggio Emilia Approach, Constructivism and Place Based Education. I also currently have the goal of further integrating issues of equity and social justice into my curriculum. I’m a teacher and a learner and view my students as the same!
2nd-3rd grade Blend Teacher
Mary, though originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, recently moved to Portland from Tempe, Arizona. She studied Elementary Education at Arizona State University and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in 2010. She taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade in Phoenix, Arizona for the past six years. She is taking courses online from San Jose State University to receive her Master’s in Library and Information sciences. She is passionate about teaching children to love others, love learning and love reading, which can serve as a gateway to learn about anything their hearts desire.
Check our her class blog at http://trilliumsyoungscholars.blogspot.com/