School name: Career Education Early College and various colleges
Program name/pathway: Crime and Forensics
Life before teaching: I began my career as a Victim Advocate for Boulder Police Department. I then became a patrol officer but really really disliked working the night shift (I think I was a farmer in a previous life).
Life outside of teaching: I have two kids (one is a senior and another is at CU Boulder) so to adjust to the empty nest, adopted another dog to add to the zoo already in our home. I now have two dogs and a two cats. I like even numbers. When not working to pay tuition bills, my significant other and I love spending time outdoors in Denver and have seasons tickets to the CU games. I love football and an an avid Broncos and Buffs fan! I just turned 50 so bought myself an electric bike. We like exploring new restaurants and I can bike there and then have it “drive” me home. Colorado is a great place and if you ever visit, give me a call!!!
Interesting fact: I have a certificate in animal assisted intervention therapy which I have never used and plan on becoming a sommelier when I retire….
Briefly describe the student demographic you work with: I teach at both the high school and college level. My high school is a Title One school with 95% students of color. I also teach online at various colleges and universities where the students are more diverse-first generation, adults, military etc…I get a great mix of everyone and this allows me to also hear different perspectives.
Share your successes in your program: I have taught for over 20 years and have kids all over the country who have gone into law enforcement or public service. Many of my students are first generation and being able to expose them to careers that will immediately take them out of poverty has been very worthwhile. I have one student who grew up with siblings in gangs and wanted better for himself. He left the state to pursue a career as an officer and was very successful in a large urban department. He moved again and works with six officers and has his eyes on being the chief! I have another who moved to LAPD and just sent me his division shirt! Even if they don’t go into this field, I hope to share with them skills to critically view the world, understand their rights and responsibilities and work to change the world around them.
Discuss your challenges in your program: The biggest challenges right now are people who do not believe in policing. I have had several people in education share with me that they do not think I should be teaching young people to go into this field. The change must come from within and I feel that by exposing students to this career field they will be able to see the rewards that come with serving the public.
What was your proudest moment as a teacher? I thoroughly love teaching so hard to narrow down to just one. I think honestly it was during Ferguson when we critically examined the incident and my students staged a walk in instead of a walk out. https://kdvr.com/news/denver-teen-ferguson-native-urges-classmates-to-reconsider-protests/
What is the best thing about being a LPS teacher? I started attending conferences over 15 years ago and still have friends I touch base with. The camaraderie of this group is amazing and you couldn’t ask for better leaders with Dr. Washburn and Dr. Coffee at the helm.
What is your best advice for other LPS teachers? In the words of MLK “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” The work is hard, especially during these trying times but so rewarding. Find a support group of teachers who are positive and support your work but will also challenge you to think outside the box and become a better educator. Don’t try to create everything. Reach out to people for help and adapt their lessons to fit your class. Teach your students how to think, not what to think and have some fun!
What do you consider your expertise areas? Criminal Investigations, Online course development, Hate Crimes and Juvenile Delinquency
Can you share an email so people can reach out for advice? firstname.lastname@example.org