Not only do I see the field of special education through the lens of a learning and behavior specialist, but also as a parent of a child requiring special education services. I worked in the field of education for over sixteen years and thoroughly understand the process of special education as well as how to carry it out with integrity.
I am an Illinois State Certified Highly Qualified Teacher in Secondary Education as well as Special Education. I graduated Cum Laude from De Paul in 2002, with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and Literature. I began my career as an 8thgrade Language Arts Teacher. Although I was passionate about teaching, my frustration increased daily due to not understanding how to meet the diverse needs of all my students. After questioning everything in the field of education, researching and continuously modifying my curriculum daily, I decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Special Education.
I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Lewis University in 2006, with a Master of Arts in Special Education. I worked as a middle school Learning Specialist in the public school setting for seven years. Despite loving my experience in the public school setting, I felt as though I needed to challenge myself and further grow as an educator.
I accepted a position as a high school Behavior Specialist at a therapeutic day school in 2013. My students came from over 40 different districts in the state, and I quickly learned that there was so much more to them than what was written and provided to me in the IEP. This position taught me how to ask the right questions about my students in order to get the answers I was seeking. My goal was to always understand exactly why a student was behaving and performing a certain way in order to best help them. Once I got to the root of their current performance, I was able to develop IEP’s and curriculum allowing them to be successful. These experiences in the field of education is what prepared me to be a strong, relentless advocate for my son.
Being a strong advocate for my son led to my resignation after sixteen years of teaching to begin educational consulting and advocacy in August 2018. It is rewarding for me to combine my knowledge in the field of education with my experiences and empathy towards families that have a child in need of special education services. This process can be very overwhelming and emotional for families, and I love having the opportunity to assist them through the process. Every child is entitled to a Fair and Appropriate Education (FAPE), and it is dire that our children receive just that.