I am fortunate to share an office with Kristen and see all of the amazing work that she does day in and day out. Everyday she is full of energy and is working on new ideas to support the students and the staff through the LMC. She is a well sought after author and speaker and we are fortunate to have her here supporting us every single day of the school year. I hope you enjoy getting to know Kristen more through this week’s post.
What do you do here at WV?
I am the library media specialist.
Do you coach or oversee any clubs/activities here at WV?
I co-sponsor book club with Laurel Chesla. We meet with avid readers every Wednesday morning to chat about books!
How many years of experience in education do you have? Where were you at before WV?
This is my 12th year in education. Before coming to WVHS, I was the library media specialist at Oswego East High School. I also taught middle school language arts for five years in Oswego before moving into the library world.
Why did you get into education?
I absolutely loved reading and writing as a kid and was convinced that I would grow up to be the next Judy Blume or maybe even Diane Sawyer. My parents were a bit skeptical, though, and kept telling me there weren’t many career options out there for writers. During my senior year of high school, I became a crew trainer at McDonald’s and realized I really enjoyed teaching other people and helping them succeed. It only made sense to combine my love of reading and writing with my knack for helping others into a career in education.
Where did you go to high school?
I graduated from T.F. South high school in Lansing, Illinois in 2001.
Where did you go to college?
I am a three time graduate of Northern Illinois University. My Bachelor’s of Science is in elementary education with a middle school language arts endorsement, my Master’s is in Instructional Design and Technology with a K-12 library media specialist certification and my Doctoral degree is in Curriculum and Instruction Leadership.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Inspiration isn’t something that just happens – you really have to seek it out. My brain food includes podcasts like Hidden Brain, Note to Self, and Reply All. Connecting with other professionals in my field through social media and conferences is a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me. Lately I’ve been watching a ton of Netflix documentaries and reading more narrative non-fiction as opposed to fictional novels. I really think the more broadly you learn, the more connections you can make, and the more creative your thinking becomes.
Do you have a favorite Warrior Memory?
I have so many wonderful memories of teamwork from my first year here. It was awesome to watch people jump on board and get behind a library renovation. Everyone from students to maintenance staff, teachers and administrators played a key role in helping clear out so many old materials and rearrange the remaining ones. There was something about watching everyone come together around a shared goal that helped me feel like I was right where I belonged.
When not at school, where do you like to spend your time or what do you like to do? Do you have any special talents?
When I am not at school, I am essentially an unpaid Uber driver. Ah…the life of a mom with busy kids….
What are your future goals?
I would like to write another educational book about digital citizenship in the curriculum. I’ve started sketching out some rough ideas and outlines, but have not committed to another big project yet.
Who do you live with? Spouse, kids, pets, etc.
My husband Greg and I have been married for 14 and half years. We have three children. William is 12, Lily is 10, and Alice is 8. We also share our home with a dog named Piper and my son’s bearded dragon, Apollo.
If your department had to vote you, “most likely to…”, what would they vote you?
My department would likely vote me “most likely to take on too much” because I usually have a problem saying ‘no’ to helping others. When a project excites me, I am quick to say ‘yes’ even if that means being pulled in a lot of directions at one time.
What did you do this summer?
This summer I spent a lot of time working on home renovations and hanging out with my kids. I also taught as an adjunct professor for the first time, spoke at the ISTE Conference, and wrote an online course for ISTE U.
What is your goal for this school year?
My goal doesn’t usually change much from year to year – I want to grow as a professional and to help others do the same. I am currently hosting a student teacher for the first time, which has been a rewarding experience and has forced me to do a lot of personal reflecting, which always leads to growth!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Kristen. Be sure to stop in the LMC and say hello to Kristen or ask for some help. She likely won’t say no…