What is your title/occupation?
Exceptional Student Services (ESS) Coordinator
What school or department do you work/volunteer at?
I work in the ESS Department at Dysart Unified School District Office.
How long have you worked here?
This is my 15th year in Dysart.
What are you excited about on your campus/in your department and why?
This year, we have had the opportunity to pilot an inclusive preschool model at six of our elementary schools. We have been able to work closely with ADE to implement this new structure and have seen exciting results for our students, families and teachers. We will be expanding this model to more schools in 2019-20.
What do you like most about living here?
I love the weather. I am all about the sunshine, so being able to get outside and enjoy the beauty makes me very happy, even if it is 110. I love living by Luke Air Force Base and hearing the sound of the jets everyday.
What changes would you like to see in this area?
I love how Surprise continues to grow and develop. It is exciting to see all of the new building starting again. Of course, I would love to see more and more restaurants and shopping come to Surprise.
Favorite community cause and why?
One program that I am very proud of is the opportunity City of Surprise offers for students with all abilities. Our Parks and Recreation department has robust offerings of adaptive programming that allows our residents inclusive access to community programming and recreation options, including Dream Catcher Park.
When and why you moved here?
I have been in Surprise for about 19 years. I was drawn to the newness of the city and wanted to be a part of the excitement.
Where you lived prior to moving?
Prior to moving to Surprise, I lived in Mesa.
Who is in your family?
I have two beautiful daughters. Jazmine is 10 and Lilly is 5 years old. My parents are a huge part of our lives as well.
What do you like most about your job?
I love working to support students. I have an amazing leadership team, and I am thankful every day to be a part of my current team. In this position, I have the opportunity to work with a lot of different groups. From families, and students, administrators, teachers, related-service providers to district and ADE administrators to community leaders and partners there is a wide variety of experiences that I am included in — all with the focus of supporting student growth.
If you could pick another occupation, what would it be?
If I could do anything, I would love to be a Lawyer — focusing on special education law. I love being a part of problem-solving and making change when needed.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I love spending time with my family including our kitties. My girls and I enjoy shopping, gardening, traveling, hanging out at the beach, doing anything outdoors, especially swimming and hiking, going to concerts, singing and playing the cello and violin. Recently, my oldest daughter has begun to play the violin. We are enjoying playing duets together.
Describe one of the happiest moments in your life:
The happiest moments in my life has been the adoption of my two girls. Both of my girls were placed with me when I was a foster parent and in both cases, I had the blessing of becoming their adoptive mother. This was truly a miracle and we are so thankful each day for this gift.
What is your best and worst habit?
I would say my best habit is also my worst habit — in that I tend to become very involved and engrossed in my work, and I work all the time. This
can cause me to become very involved and stress over things, and sometimes takes time away from my family.
What traits do you admire in others?
I admire those that are compassionate, hard working and driven.
Who is a person that inspires you and why?
My Mom inspires me. Her faith, her drive and her ability to guide and support to me, and my girls, inspires me on a daily basis. She never stops. I am so thankful for her support and friendship in my life and that I can count on her no matter what.
What is your guiding philosophy?
My guiding philosophy comes from my faith. First Corinthians 13:13 is a verse that keeps me focused on the importance and necessity of working through situations and difficulties with empathy and love.
What is your advice for today’s youth?
My advice for today’s youth is to get involved. Check in. Explore and discover what it is that makes you happy, that energizes you. Focus on those things you are passionate about. Also, it is OK if you aren’t sure. Take the time to explore and research the big world around you. Keep a growth mindset and know that each day, you have the opportunity to make a difference.