It’s an honest Quaker creed that reminds us to make sure our lives tell the truths we embody. I have adopted this axiom as a way to make sense of my life, to live my beliefs, and to ensure that those who are marginalized by society are heard.
I am a writer, a teacher, an activist, and a mother to a child with a disability. I am passionate about literacy in and out of the classroom and have committed my twenty-five years of personal and professional life to it.
I started my journey as a secondary English teacher and spent 12 years working in public schools as a teacher, a department chair, and as a professional development leader. I took my work on the road, working for seven years as a literacy consultant in public schools across the state of Indiana.
In 2004, with executive Director of the Indiana Writers Center and novelist, Barbara Shoup, I started the Memoir Project at the Indiana Writers Center and currently serve as the Education Outreach Director of the Memoir Project.
In 2011, I completed my teaching fellowship and doctorate at Ball State University and was hired as a professor in the department of English where I currently teach creative writing, English education, and writing program courses.
Highlights of my 25 years of literacy and activist work:
- I have authored the popular educational book, Painless Reading Comprehension, which has sold over 85,000 copies. The third edition arrived this Spring of 2016. And most recently, I co-authored, Memory Workshop, with award winning author, Barbara Shoup. The book came out in August of 2016 and is selling well.
- I am the acting editor of the digital literary magazine titled, Rethinking Children’s & YA Lit: Read for Change. The Winter 2016 edition is themed to books that support #blacklivesmatter
- I am an editor for INwords Publications, an independent press committed to publishing public memoirs.
- I have edited eight different public memoir collections including: Sitting at the Feet of our Elders, the series: I Remember: Indianapolis Youth Write about Their Lives, Monday Coffee and Other Stories of Mothering Children with Special Needs, Stomping Ground, and Where Mercy and Truth Meet: Homeless Women of Wheeler Speak.
- I am a scholarly researcher and writer in disability studies and community and collaborative writing and have published academic articles in peer-reviewed journals including The Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, Journal of Transformative Education, and English Teaching: Practice and Critique.
- My teaching and scholarly work has been recognized by Jennings County School Corporation, Hamilton Southeastern School Corporation, Purdue University, Indiana University, and Ball State University where I have won several awards and recognitions including Teacher of the Year, the university-wide Excellence in Teaching Award, the Accessible Faculty Member of the Year Award, the leading presentation twice at the Diversity and Inclusivity Teaching and Research Symposium, and the Leading Diversity Scholar at the university two years in a row.
- My public memoir work has been featured at the Indianapolis Spirit and Place Festival, in the Indianapolis Star, on the popular radio program, Hoosier History Live, Her magazine, at the Geeky Press’ Writers Jam where I jammed my literary essay, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and with IndyWrites Press.
- To learn more about me, read a full biography on my introductory and initial blog post titled, Hope Takes Practice, and, check out her full life vitae here.
On my professional bucket list is to:
- Publish my own memoir instead of just teaching about, writing about, and editing them.
- Be an invited Keynote speaker at a national conference.
- Have my own Ted Talk about the value of leaning in, leading, and loving what you teach.
- Research and publish even more about families of children with special needs, who are underserved.