Utica Community Schools has been an important part of my entire life. I attended Utica Community School throughout my K-12 career, graduating from Henry Ford II High School. I went to Oakland University, where I decided on teaching after helping my sister at her child care facility. After I graduated from Oakland University, I was very fortunate to be hired by Utica Community Schools. I actually interviewed with the same principal I had in elementary school. I was excited when he called me to say "hey, when can you come in and pick up your keys?" Over the past 19 years, I have taught several elementary grades and served as a counselor in our district.
I also serve my country in the military. I did three years of prior service in the Coast Guard as a law enforcement officer on the great lakes before joined the Marine Corps. I currently serve as a Company Commander with an engineer company based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
There are very strong parallels between my life in the military and my career as a teacher. You go into education because you are dedicated to public service. They are both about giving to a greater good. I see that every day here with colleagues at DeKeyser Elementary. We are here early, we stay late and we work with students through prep times because we know we are serving something that is bigger than ourselves.
I had a commanding officer that once gave me some great advice: know yourself, know your job, and know your people. I try to live that every day. I try to know what I can improve on, know my job, and understand that you will never be perfect but that’s ok. Quite frankly, I’m in a great learning environment that allows me to be a better teacher and person. I also want to know my students, I want to know what makes them successful and I want to know what may cause them to fail, and more importantly, what I can do to help them overcome any struggles they may have in school.
We work to build a community in our school every day. We say the Pledge of Allegiance every day to reaffirm what we stand for as a country. The Pledge is to commit yourself to something greater: your community, your fellow citizens and your country. These are the values of our country and we reaffirm them with our students every morning when we say the pledge.
Our focus on creating communities is right there in our name - Utica Community Schools. Every day we promote service to your community and service to something bigger than yourself. There is not a better vocation than teaching.
Utica Community Schools Board of Education