"As a graduate of the program, I can speak to my experiences. This program not only gave me the academic rigor needed to be prepared to teach and provide support as a care coordinator, but also the support needed to be open to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students."
Rhode Island/Ewa Beach
- Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Special Education (PBSPED)
- MEd, SPED: Interdisciplinary
How did you become interested in the special education field?
I was fortunate to try on a career in education and began my journey as a substitute teacher for the Hawai’i DOE. This experience allowed me to find my best fit – and that best fit was in the special education classrooms with secondary students.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
I believe in developing engaging, student-centered curriculum that uses the principles of Universal Design for Learning to create lessons that allow access for all learners.
What types of candidates do you hope/recommend to pursue our licensure programs in special education?
Upon my departure from the DOE, I received emails from students who had been in my class expressing how much impact I had on their young lives. I was honored and humbled that they would take the time to share with me. I hope to inspire other teacher candidates to create these same meaningful relationships with their students, but especially with those who tend to get left behind or are often misunderstood as learners.
How does the Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Special Education best support and prepare its students?
As a graduate of the program, I can speak to my experiences. This program not only gave me the academic rigor needed to be prepared to teach and provide support as a care coordinator, but also the support needed to be open to meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students.
What words of advice would you give to people looking to pursue this profession?
Be open-minded, flexible, and disciplined. Remember your “why.” For most, our why is our students. Be honest with yourself and seek help when needed. Learn in the way you’d encourage your students to learn, and expect from yourself what you’d expect from them as learners. Lastly, reflect, reflect, reflect! The best teachers are those who can reflect on what works and, perhaps more importantly, what does not.
Briefly describe your own road to higher education and future goals?
I can single handedly thank and blame Janet Kim for my career. It was her friendly voice that answered the phone after a particularly disappointing call with the DOE’s teacher recruitment office. Throughout my time in the Post-Bac program and then afterwards while pursuing my MEd in Special Education, she has been a consistent cheerleader. Now, she’s advocating for me to start my journey for a Ph.D!
What are your research interests?
Early on in the Post-Bac program, I became interested in increasing the reading comprehension of secondary learners. In Kavita Rao’s UDL and technology course, I submitted an assignment on a digital vocabulary Frayer model idea and expounded on this creation when I pursued the MEd SPED program. Most recently, I had the honor of publishing with Kavita on using UDL and technology to create this digital Frayer model in Teaching Exceptional Children. Additionally, I have been fortunate to have had strong co-taught teams both as a SpEd and general education teacher and would like to add to the research body on how to work collaboratively in the classroom.
What do you like to do outside of education?
I’m on the crazy cat lady spectrum. We foster kittens and cats for a local non-profit and have “foster failed” often enough to have seven of our own feline friends.
Anything else you would like to share?
I am very excited to begin this journey and look forward to getting to know each of you – from a socially acceptable distance, of course!