I live in the Musser Park neighborhood, which I love! Walking to work, Central Market, the library and many other fun destinations are some of the reasons I enjoy living there!
I am a Community School Director. Through a partnership between Heads Up Lancaster and the School District of Lancaster, I work at Fulton Elementary community school. The whole idea of a full-service community school is that it serves as a hub of the community and meets the needs of the community's particular students and families. We know that schools can't do it all, so my job is to connect all of the amazing resources in the community to the school to help our students and families be successful. This strategy relies quite heavily on school-community-family partnerships with everyone working together to meet student's needs. The old adage "It takes a village" is incredibly true in this model!
Luckily, I have a job that I don't consider "work" and I enjoy walking to school every morning and spending my day with a dedicated group of people. When I'm not at school, I might be hiking down in the Southern end of the county, where I grew up, baking, taking a long walk through the city, biking on a nearby rail trail, or taking photographs. I am a newish homeowner, so there are endless house projects that I am constantly working on and planning.
Three people now living I would like to have lunch with: Michelle Obama, Mary Oliver, Bob Dylan
The cause I most believe in is: An arts-infused education system implemented through the community school strategy. The education landscape is changing and I believe an integrated arts curriculum will be the way to help our students be successful and to gain critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills as well as a connection to the broader community and world. There are many different ways to learn and I believe the creativity and innovative thinking that comes with marrying the arts and the so-called "traditional subjects" will result in an inspired learning environment.
Name three things on your bucket list. I would like to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, brew my own beer, and go on a cross country trip stopping to visit independent bookstores.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A scientist, dancer and writer.
My greatest accomplishment is... Doing my best to live my life honestly and staying true to myself-—and the best way for me to do that is through service to others and being engaged in my community.
My unfulfilled ambition is... I spent a great deal of time involved in the small theatre scene in Boston. It's something I really want to get involved in here in Lancaster-—I love directing and I hope to do so soon here in Lancaster.
Three words to describe me are... Creative, optimistic, eclectic
Tell us something about you that most people don't know. I grew up for six years on an Amish farm-—my parents rented a house on an Amish farm where we lived without electricity and with only cold running water. (I loved it-—I spent lots of time playing outside and reading by the light of kerosene lamps!)
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? "It's time to get up already?"
What's the farthest-away place you've been? Greece! I visited in November and it was amazing. The passion Greek people have for the country and their connection to their history is inspiring. Plus, the food-—the feta cheese, the tzi-ziki, the pastries-—delightful!
What do you think Lancaster will be like in ten years? An improved version of what it is now! I think the movement towards building green spaces, creating a community that cares about and supports all people and growing as active citizens will make Lancaster a great place to (still) be!
What do you consider to be Lancaster City's greatest asset? The sense of community. After living in Boston for 10 years, which is a great city, I craved a smaller-town community and moving back to Lancaster has gotten me just that. I love that people look you in the eye and smile and that there are so many people and organizations in the heart of Lancaster dedicated to building and sustaining a community where we are all supporting each other and helping to lift each other up.
Grabbing a bite in Lancaster with - $5, $10, $30 - Where (and what):
$5-Central Market -the breakfast sandwiches at S. Clyde Weaver's!
$10-Rachel's Creperie-—a Nutella crepe, of course!
$30-The Fridge! You can get delicious pizza and a great selection of craft beer!
What are the best aspects of your job? The people-both the adults and the kids! They are a group of dedicated, passionate, thoughtful and creative folks who are all committed to ensuring our young people have access to resources and support that they need to be successful. I also love that every day of my job is different-—one day I might be in a meeting with local businesses talking about community resources, the next I may be reading aloud in a classroom and the next I may be presenting on school/community partnerships to college students!
Would you describe yourself as introverted or extroverted? That's tough...I'm not sure. I love being around people and am energized by interactions with others, yet I need alone time with a good book or Bob Dylan on vinyl. I think I'm in the middle of the scale?
What is your coffee shop drink of choice? Oh, it's a tie between a London Fog from Square One and a Cocoa Joe from Prince St. Café!
What music are you listening to now? The National and The Memory Band
Best advice from your parents... Always be yourself.
What should they have taught you in school but didn't? Learning how to communicate well. This is such a critical element to leading a full life and I think it's an area often neglected in curriculum. We should work with our students to be in touch with their emotions and teach them different ways to communicate their feelings-—to help them get in touch with their voices and how to express themselves.
If there is one thing life has taught me it is... One of my favorite sayings is "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" (Plato). I have it taped on my dashboard in my car to help with road rage, but really, it's helpful in ALL areas of my life. I try to keep that in mind when meeting and interacting with everyone-—you just never know what someone has gone through and it takes a lot of unnecessary energy to judge someone-—it's so much more enjoyable to get to know someone as a whole person.