After a somewhat rocky start in elementary school I had a life changing experience in Mr. Riggs' 5th grade classroom. What I remember is how my love of learning grew that year, particularly learning in math and science. Mr. Riggs had a way of luring us into the ideas he was trying to teach in ways that made us want to learn more. I even realized that year that I could be good at those subjects.
Formerly a math and dance teacher in public secondary schools and later, a college of education faculty member, I am now the director of City Academy, a secondary charter school in downtown Salt Lake City. I realize there were a small handful of amazing teachers, along with Mr. Riggs, who influenced my love of learning and my path to where I am now: My social studies teacher in junior high, Mrs. Yahtze, who made us all historians, my dance teacher Medora, who first allowed me the opportunity to teach others, and my French teacher, Mme. Spidell who taught me to have high standards for myself.
I was also very fortunate to have the example of my mother who was a Chemistry professor and my best mentor and role model for good teaching.
Twelve years ago as we wrote the charter for our new school, an important part of the vision in that document was to develop a nurturing place for teachers. To encourage them to share their passion and knowledge in meaningful ways so that each of our students would leave high school with the idea that learning matters and learning is fun forever.