I began teaching at the Downtown Campus of Pima Community College in August of 1997, when I was hired as a faculty member serving our students studying English as a Second Language (ESL). I have never felt so fortunate; I have had the pleasure of working with amazing students from all around this wonderfully complex and diverse world! When I look back at my career, my heart always swells when I think of Pima College's ESL student population. Many of these students were political and religious refugees seeking safety, opportunity, and hope in an incredibly formidable new culture and country. From these wonderful human beings, I learned so much - humility, gratitude, and a sense of unconditional friendship and affection that can only be shared by a teacher of language and culture and her favorite students.
Education - The Post-baccalaureate Teaching Certification Program
After eleven wonderful years working with ESL students from all over the world, I had the opportunity to move to the discipline into which I had been patiently waiting to transfer since my arrival at the College. I had been teaching overload courses in our Associate of Arts in Elementary Education program since arriving at Pima, but there had never been a full-time faculty position in Elementary Education. So, in order to move into Education, I accepted a position teaching in our post-degree teacher certification program in 2008.
The post-degree teacher education program was a completely on-line program, and in transferring into the program, I actually learned a lot about myself. It did not take me long to realize that on-line delivery was not my forte. I discovered that cognitively, I process using verbal, visual, and interpersonal processing styles. This style is a great match for those that teach in highly interactive synchronous classroom contexts, but it is not at all a good match for those that teach in text-based, asynchronous on-line contexts. In spite of having been involved in distance education initiatives since 1991, having completed a certificate in instructional technology at the University of Arizona South, and participating in a wide variety of on-line delivery professional development opportunities, my own cognitive processing skills remain best suited to more traditional modalities of instruction, which allow me to be the most effective and efficient instructor I can be for my students.
Philosophically, I believed that many of those who are preparing to teach children also tend to be social learners and processors that construct knowledge through verbalization and interaction who are better served in face-to-face and hybrid instructional delivery modalities, which allow them to participate in highly interactive social learning experiences being modeled by master teachers. This suspicion has been affirmed by students in Pima's Associate of Arts in Elementary Education Students, who consistently express their preference for the face-to-face modality.
Education - The Associate of Arts in Elementary Education Program
Finally, after eighteen years at Pima College, I became the first faculty member ever assigned to the Associate of Arts in Elementary Eduction program in August of 2014. Returning to the classroom to work with the eager, excited, and very capable young people who are our pre-service teachers was a high point in my teaching career. Those who say the best and the brightest no longer enter the profession are mistaken... our education majors are, without a doubt, living proof that those nay-sayers are wrong!
Education - Faculty Appointment with Estrella Mountain Community College
In 2017, after 20 years serving students at Pima Community College, I felt that it was time to grow beyond the position in which I had grown so comfortable. So, I began to look for a new adventure that would offer new challenges. I was fortunate enough to be be offered a faculty appointment in the Teacher Education Institute at Estrella Mountain Community College, which is located in the west valley of metropolitan Phoenix and is not far from where I grew up. In fact, I attended one of its feeder high schools, Trevor G. Browne, as a teenager! With this amazing faculty appointment, I felt as if I had come "full circle" in my professional career as an educator. It was amazing to return to and give back to the community in which I was raised. I don't believe there is a luckier person! I worked with amazing students who are leading the charge to reclaim public education for the public. It was an honor and a privilege to serve them.
Education - Faculty Appointment with Tohono O'odham Community College
In 2018, I began the next chapter of my career when I learned that there was a faculty position in Education opening up at the tribal college on the Tohono O'odham Nation. Since working on the Navajo Nation in the 1990s, I have dedicated my studies and research to Indigenous Education. I am committed to supporting the development of curriculum that is grounded in tribal culture and supports the stabilization and revitalization of the language, epistemology, axiology, and ontology of the Indigenous people it serves. I am an advocate of tribal sovereignty and self-determination and recognize the vital role education (and specifically, curriculum grounded in Indigenous culture) plays in supporting these critical issues.
I aspire to finishing out my working career in service to TOCC and the O'odham people!