Special Education Recruitment Specialist
"I hope to spread more awareness and de-stigmatize special education so that people don't miss out on the opportunity to pursue a profession that provides a lifetime of fulfillment and happiness."
Burke, Virginia (born)
- BEd, Exceptional Students & Elementary Education
- MEd, Educational Foundations: Educational Leadership
- PhD, Education: Exceptionalities
I was born in Burke, Virginia, but my family moved around every few years because my dad was in the Air Force. I consider Hawaiʻi home.
What is your current role at the COE?
As the Special Education Recruitment Specialist, I seek out and share information about all of our programs in the department. My goal is to make sure that anyone who is interested in special education has the information and support needed in order to pursue it.
How did you become interested in the special education field?
I moved to Hawaiʻi knowing I wanted to teach in a diverse environment, but I did not actually have any experience or knowledge of special education at the time. Thankfully, my academic advisor, Niki Libarios, convinced me to go into the dual preparation program. Through the field experience each semester, I learned that my heart and passion went into working with students with special needs. I almost missed my calling, and I am extremely grateful to Niki for opening my eyes and giving me the opportunity to do what I feel I was meant to do.
Why is SPED is a good choice for someone who wants to teach?
Becoming a special education teacher is a very fulfilling and rewarding profession. For me, I just knew I loved working with children and wanted to make a difference in their lives. This population of students is perfect because it allows you to work more one-on-one and focus on teaching to individual needs. The impact a special education teacher has on these children and their families can be overwhelming, and in the end, you truly know that you’ve made a difference.
What are the characteristics of a good SPED teacher/candidate?
I get excited when I meet people who exemplify compassion and creativity. Great candidates for our programs are those who have passion for working with children and are determined to use creative and flexible outlets in order to help each and every child. Amazing special educators are intelligent, creative, compassionate, dedicated, and selfless.
What is your favorite part about recruiting for the college’s SPED programs?
My favorite part about recruiting is when I find a candidate who is a perfect fit. I get to learn about their situation and needs, and then I get to explain how our program can get them exactly where they want to be. To see their excitement and passion about wanting to become a special education teacher is exactly why I wanted to do this job.
How did the SPED faculty/staff impact and help you along in your program?
I have always appreciated and admired the faculty in this department. Since I was a student in the program, I have been surrounded by the most caring, supportive, and devoted people in the world. They exude the type of characteristics I look for when I recruit for new special education teachers. I feel honored to work alongside them.
What are your future plans?
I hope to go back into teaching and working with students again. Nothing is quite as rewarding as ending a school year and looking back to see how much each child has grown. I miss being a special education teacher every day, but I know right now my purpose is to help our students on a grander scale – to find compassionate and dedicated people so that every child with a special need has someone there to guide them and teach them. And, I hope to spread more awareness and de-stigmatize special education so that people don’t miss out on the opportunity to pursue a profession that provides a lifetime of fulfillment and happiness.