Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?
Next school year I will teach four sections of seventh grade science. My district began implementing the Next Generation Science Standards last year. I am a science curriculum committee member. I am responsible for helping write/adapt the seventh grade curriculum document and create formative and summative assessments. I also teach workshops for district employees on using data to differentiate instruction and assessments. I am a technology leader and present technology workshops to teachers in my school district and via Illinois Computing Educators (ICE).
What sparked your initial interest in your career?
I think my initial spark of wanting to be a teacher was when I was very young. I am the oldest child of four. I always seemed to be making up math problems and other "homework" for myself and my siblings to complete (I couldn't understand why they were not very willing participants).
Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?
My fourth grade teacher influenced me the most in choosing teaching as a profession. I loved when she would read aloud to us everyday and she was always smiling, happy, and cared about us. Mrs. Costello also encouraged writing. I wrote my first "novel" in fourth grade. It was a spooky story about haunted houses that took up an entire pack of lined paper (no typing back then). In furthering my degrees, my husband has supported me in every step of the way. I was in the middle of my doctorate program when I delivered preemie twins two months early. When I decided to go back and finish my doctorate, he got lots of "daddy/daughter" time as he would take care of the twins so I could work.
What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?
The most fascinating element of my work is how I am constantly trying to increase my science and technology skills to keep up with the rapid, increasing use of technology and new teaching strategies in education!
What other jobs led you to your current career?
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in fourth grade! I was always very good in life sciences. In my Bachelor's program at Northern Illinois University I immersed myself in life science classes. When I was applying for teaching positions I really wanted to teach fourth or fifth grade, but all the calls I received for interviews were for middle school science. I decided to accept a middle school science position and enjoy it more than I thought I ever would! As my career continued I was asked to be a mentor teacher to new teachers, a team leader of grade-level teachers, a science curriculum leader, and a school improvement team member. I found that I enjoyed working with and teaching adults as much as I do with children. I decided to pursue my doctorate in leadership and curriculum and instruction.
What are your degrees and certifications?
Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction - University of Phoenix; Masters of Science in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Differentiation - St. Francis University; Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education with a Minor in Biology - Northern Illinois University
What are your hobbies?
I love spending time with my 7 year old twins. I love to read, scrapbook, cook new recipes, go camping, and travel to new places.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?
If you think you would like to be a teacher, volunteer at schools (helping the teacher with "behind the scene" items). If you are already a classroom teacher and wish to be an educational leader you should read much about the different styles of leadership and determine what type of leader you are. With that understanding you can learn to adapt your leadership to best meet the group/task needs. One should volunteer for any positions in schools that require leadership skills (such as being a team leader, a curriculum leader, a school improvement team member, etc.). By far the most important thing to making my career successful is being a lifelong learner. I constantly read current literature and connect with educators through Twitter (follow me at @andermm).
How did you get involved in the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?
I initially learned about Nautilus through the JASON Project. Then last past school year, I attended a Community STEM Program event called the Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy. At that event, I was mesmerized by the work the members of Nautilus complete and that day really wished I could do something like that someday. A few months ago my principal forwarded an opportunity to apply for the Nautilus Ambassador Program for August 2016. I completed a cover letter explaining my interest and submitted my curriculum vitae. I was so happy to be selected to represent as an Ambassador for my school community!