It took me a long time to like school. In fact, it wasn’t until I went to Eastern Michigan University that I finally hit my stride, finding my creative outlet of writing curriculum, and teaching it.
I knew then that I wanted to become the teacher I never had, the one that loved it all, the students, the subjects and the supervisors.
I enjoyed teaching and was moved around, trying all grade levels. Several years later, I received my Master’s in Education, and started to become very fond of teaching writing to my second graders. When I left my district in 2003, it wasn’t due to being burned out.
Presenting at a large Michigan literacy conference, marked a turning point for me as I left the classroom to become a national presenter for a leading professional development company in North America- Bureau for Education & Research (BER).
In 2003, after saying my goodbyes and having a colossal teacher garage sale, I debuted in BER’s catalog. I was traveling all over the nation going to large cities presenting my lessons that were a combination of 6 Traits and Writer’s Workshop, intertwining the best of both pedagogies. However, after a year on the road I realized business travel isn’t glamorous or scalable (a fancy business term basically meaning it's going to take too much effort to make any real money).
What happened next was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had. I went from a sought after, parent requested teacher,and a national presenter on the circuit with some very famous education presenters, to being a substitute teacher pounding the pavement selling my services as a writing consultant modeling writing lessons in K-12 classrooms.
It turned out to be the best experience: I got to test out my curriculum and classroom management techniques.
In 2005, not knowing what I was getting myself into, I signed a full time job contract as a teacher coach in one of the toughest districts in Michigan. I was assigned to observe and provide feedback to all 56 stressed, disgruntled and under appreciated K-12 teachers.
In fact, this district had been so consistently unsuccessful and losing enrollment faster than you can say, “mass exodus”, that the State of Michigan did a drastic move—-the state’s Education Department took over the whole district in 2004.
Of the different positions I had, there was one consistent theme throughout all four years after leaving the classroom. I kept hearing the same thing from the 250 classrooms I modeled writing lessons in.
Finally, it dawned on me that the solution to achieving The 5 Freedoms had been right in front of me since leaving the classroom.
WriteSteps was a complete K-5 writing and grammar curriculum. In 2010, it was revised to fully meet Common Core standards and revamped as a digital software for teachers and their students.
I’m proud to say in the ten years I owned the company:
In October 2017, WriteSteps was bought by Vkidz, now owned by Cambium Learning and renamed Writing City.
Essentially, VKidz wanted a writing curriculum to add to their many products, and I wanted more of The 5 Freedoms. It was the perfect win-win.
After almost two decades of being a successful educator turned entrepreneur and having started several companies, I questioned, “What’s next?”. The answer came quite easily; I thought about how my path to success has been paved by years of training and my own entrepreneurial professional development.
Why let all of this training and knowledge go to waste, why not share it with other educators who want to...
✨FREE Access to "The 5 Freedoms Life" ➣