This declaration is provided with the sincere intention of pursuing a career path in Special Education. Clearly this is a new avenue for me but not one I consider casually. After meeting with Andra Gwydir, Director of the Pathways Program at Fontbonne University I was convinced that I should not waste another moment and get the ball rolling.
My Background - Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, I attended the University of Miami (FL) where I double majored in Art and English (more specifically Graphic Design and Creative Writing). I was a residence hall advisor and regular contributing cartoonist for the school newspaper The Hurricane. I was also associate editor for the College Yearbook The Ibis. After earning my Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1978 from UM, I was offered a Graduate Assistantship with the University Admissions office. In this position, I served as a traveling Admissions Counselor in exchange for tuition remission and a modest stipend. I traveled 12 states, visited hundreds of High Schools (in New England and the Midwest) and represented the University of Miami at College Fairs over a two year period. I earned my Master of Business Administration (MBA with an emphasis in Marketing) in 1982. I initially pursued advertising as a career and worked in NYC, LA, Raleigh (NC), Miami and St. Louis on a variety of accounts (from Beverages to Telephony). Leveraging my experiences, I made a transition to marketing and communications leader roles in corporate environments. I started my own marketing firm in 2010 with some modest success. To augment my income, I began exploring teaching as a substitute. I discovered pretty quickly that there was a need in special education. I was a frequent substitute for the Special School District of St. Louis during the 2013-2014 school year. I served part of that time as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analyst). I was hired full time as a para-educator at Neuwoehner High School in 2014.
Current Work Setting - I am a para-educator teacher assistant in the classroom at Neuwoehner High School in Room 15 with teacher Gina Hoffmann. This classroom has six students at the beginning of the year.
Personal and Professional Goals – I have learned in a sort span of time that I can make a meaningful difference in the lives of students in this population. I’ve shared with colleagues and friends that this direction in my career journey might be assessed by St. Peter at the pearly gates of Heaven something like this. Says Saint Peter: “Um I see you’ve been in Advertising. Not a lot of room up here for that. And you worked in corporate environments as chief marketing officer and communications specialist…not much better I’m afraid. Ohhhhhhh I see you spent some time improving the lives of special kids. Right this way.” I hope that projection doesn’t seem too flip as it is offered to bring a smile. My personal and professional goals now (as I am on the verge of turning 60 years of age) is to make a difference. What I see at SSD are countless ways to do so. Because I really believe that little things are big things for these remarkable learners.