Hello, world travelers! Along with Holli, I am your other GG Leader for our adventure to Constanza in a few short weeks. I’ll be reaching out to some of you soon, but wanted to provide a brief introduction for all 22 traveling students and their families.
I have been traveling myself since my first trip abroad at age 17 during my freshman year of college. That trip was only for a weekend; we drove to Canada on Friday, saw two Shakespeare plays on Saturday, and drove home on Sunday! Still, even after such a short trip I was completely hooked. The following year I studied abroad for a semester in Canterbury, and I fell in love with England so much that upon finishing my BA in English Literature, I got a work visa for the UK and went back for 6 months. Since Shakespeare is another of my passions, I lived and worked in Stratford-Upon-Avon, saving enough money to travel to Scotland for a month.
Next I served for 27 months as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa, and have since traveled to Ghana, eSwatini, Zimbabwe, and The Gambia as well. After my first Masters degree, in Curriculum and Instruction, I taught in Houston, Texas for 3 years, and then wrote a grant to study Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico. After that, I moved to Romania for 9 months where I was the volunteer coordinator for a clinic and orphanage serving children with HIV/AIDS. I then started work on my doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership here in Chicago, and became a principal for 5 years. I loved being a school leader but missed the classroom, so I came back to teaching and also got a second Master’s degree, through the Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont and Oxford University in England, with a dual focus in Russian Literature and Creative Writing.
Whenever I am not teaching or in school myself, I continue to travel as much as possible! Other travels have included trips to Belize, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, and Spain, among other destinations. Hands down my favorite way to travel the world is with students, and I have led trips with Middle School, High School, and college students to Atlanta, Beijing, Biloxi, Cape Town, Havana, Johannesburg, London, New Orleans, New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C. to name a few. I am so excited to be adding Constanza, DR to that list with you! Next year I am planning on leading trips to Italy, Spain, Morocco, South Africa, and Scotland.
As you can see, I believe the best classroom is the world outside. As much as I love teaching my classes, my real passion is everything that happens outside of room 117: I direct the after-school theater & social justice productions, coach the Shakespeare Slam Team, and plan as many field trips as possible! This year alone I have taken Kenwood students in my Drama, Theater, & Social Justice classes on more than 20 trips in and around Chicago!
That’s it for now since I will be meeting you all very soon!