Playing outside has always been one of my favorite ways to
spend time. When I was growing up my
sister and brothers and I spent many hours outdoors building camps, riding our
bikes, exploring the neighborhood, and inventing backyard games. We always looked forward to the few winter
days of snow and hoped for a day off from school to ride our sleds down any
hill we could find.
Since I grew up in the Renton/Issaquah area of rainy,
western Washington, we didn’t get
many of these incredibly fun days. When
I headed over the mountains to attend college at Washington
I looked forward to colder winters and more days I could play in the snow,
although classes weren’t cancelled due to the wonderful white stuff. Not long after college I headed north to Alaska
with my husband, Whit, to teach school in Arctic
Village, which is north of the Arctic
Circle and has no roads to it.
Wow! I had almost 6 months to
play in the snow with my students during recess and on weekends.
During this experience, we decided to make Alaska
our home and moved onto the road system to Delta Junction, the end of the Alaska
Highway. I have lived in
Delta since 1979. My two sons, Jason and
Brian, were born and raised in Alaska. I have taught in many areas for the
Delta/Greely School District. I have
been an elementary classroom teacher at nearly every grade level. I have also taught for many years in special
education. I am currently teaching
elementary physical education and have EVERY child in the school as one of my
students!!! I can now enjoy playing
outside with my students during recess and instructing activities in the snow
during physical education classes for most of the school year.
I LOVE teaching! I
feel so lucky to have the honor of working with children and their
families. I have been fortunate to have
traveled to Japan
as a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to bring a better understanding of another
culture to my school and community. I
was also very flattered to have been selected as a 2004 DisneyHand
Teacher. I continue to learn as a
student myself every chance I get.
It was during a year that I was teaching kindergarten and
playing outside on a very cold, twenty below day during recess in November that
I was inspired to begin the project of Recess at Twenty Below. I have always admired National Geographic
photographers and dreamed of becoming one.
I am enthralled and fascinated with images of exotic locations, other
cultures and portraits of peoples around the globe. The summer before teaching kindergarten, I
had an opportunity to meet several National Geographic photographers at a
photography workshop I attended. I was
amazed to learn that one of their dreams was to photograph Alaska.
began to take a closer look at the possibilities in my own backyard. I realized that as a teacher during recess I
had a perfect opportunity to share two of my passions, teaching and
photography. I looked forward to every
day that was twenty below and no wind chill.
My students and I love playing outside in Alaska’s cold and snowy
winters. Recess at Twenty Below allows
us to share with you a little glimpse of a favorite part of our day.
2000 Fulbright Memorial
2004 Disney Hand
2006 Alaska Elementary Physical
Education Teacher of the Year
2006 USA Today Teacher Team
Appointed to the Professional Teaching Practices Commission by
Governor Frank Murkowski in 2006, confirmed by the Alaska Legislature