Cohort Coordinator and Instructor
"I’m excited to lend my passion and enthusiasm to a program that has been carefully designed to be deeply engaging, dynamic, and truly rewarding for candidates."
Slate Creek, Idaho
How did you become interested in the field of special education?
During my undergraduate work for elementary education, my advisor recommended that I take a special education course to fill an elective. Before the course was over, I added Special Education to my degree program! I immediately fell in love with philosophy of facilitating student success in multiple facets of their lives. My first job out of college was in special education, and I have never looked back!
What is your philosophy of teaching?
At UH I have witnessed students learn as much about themselves as the curriculum. That is what I value most about education. Curriculum can be taught, and growth can be facilitated. That makes educators both teachers and facilitators. Learning and growing can present challenges, twists, and turns along the way. An educator’s job is to provide a safe, trusting environment with supports that assist students in overcoming those challenges, twists, and turns.
What are you most excited about in working as the new BEd in Special Education cohort coordinator?
The launch of our new BEd in Special Education program is truly exciting! So many people in the department have worked tirelessly to ensure that it meets the high standards that our programs are known and recognized for. For me, the most exciting thing about being in the Special Education Department ‘ohana has always been the ability to share research and evidence-based practices in a way that enables our candidates to apply them directly in their classroom placements. I look forward to continuing that tradition in the new BEd in Special Education program with candidates who, like our faculty, have recognized their passion for teaching special education. I’m excited to lend my passion and enthusiasm to a program that has been carefully designed to be deeply engaging, dynamic, and truly rewarding for candidates.
How do our programs best support and prepare its students?
I did not have the benefit of doing field experience throughout my credentialing program. The fact that teacher candidates at UH have the opportunity to do field work every semester of their program is a huge benefit. They learn course material and immediately have the opportunity to put the knowledge to work in the classroom. Sadly, I believe I lost a lot of content knowledge from the time I took courses and then months later got into the classroom.
What words of advice would you give to people looking to pursue the program/profession?
Classroom teaching is often what one thinks of when thinking of education. In fact, there are many many roles within education. Some people stay in the classroom their entire career because they love it so much. Others find over time that their strengths are better suited for administration, specialties, consulting, higher education, etc. If you aren’t sure what direction you want to go in right now, don’t be afraid to just get started. That’s what I did almost 30 years ago!
What is your favorite memory as a sped teacher?
I have been a special education teacher for more than 20 years, so narrowing it down to a favorite memory is impossible. However, I like to have fun. So, I would say my favorite collective memory is of all the funny things that have happened along the way. Like the time I kept looking out the windows and door of my classroom because I could hear a dog barking somewhere. I did that for days until my investigative efforts revealed that one of my students had learned to mimic the sound of a barking dog. It was an impeccable imitation! One that eventually fooled just about everyone, staff and students alike. And yes, I enjoyed quietly watching every reaction as unsuspecting people searched for that ever-elusive dog. Hehe! It turns out; however, the joke was on me. After some apparent miscommunications between myself and the classroom paraprofessional, we discovered the student could also imitate both of our voices… That eventually led to a classroom policy of looking to make sure someone’s mouth was moving if you thought they were saying something. Ha-ha! Everyone soon became suspicious whenever it sounded like Mr. Wilkins said, “Recess time.” or “Break time!” I have so many great memories like those. Needless to say, every day of teaching is an adventure. I can’t imagine not being a teacher!
What are your goals or future plans?
I plan to continue teaching at UHM as long as possible!
What do you like to do outside of education?
I enjoy photography, travel, and cooking.