I returned to Princeton in 2008 to do Teacher Prep after working in residence life at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. The investment in my future as an educator quickly paid off – I was hired as a history teacher in the upper school at Gill St. Bernard’s School in New Jersey in 2009 not long before completing my certification. The experience called upon all of my skills as a social studies teacher and then some, as I was assigned five preps my first year, teaching courses ranging from AP U.S. History to senior electives on race and gender studies. While at GSB I was offered an opportunity to teach music history electives in the general studies program at Montclair State University in the evenings. That position led to Kendall Hunt Publishers’ publication of my music history textbook, These Distorted Times, which serves as the text for MSU’s “Rock and Rap: Cultural Phenomenon” course.
The different hats required to lead small, seminar-sized classes during my day and lecture over one hundred students at night demanded that I call upon the methodologies and backward design planning that TPP highlights. Though the added load was a challenge and the commute between jobs and home was often crazy, I felt prepared for the extreme spectrum of student personalities and circumstances I encountered thanks to Dr. Todd Kent’s reliable common sense advice, as well as the superb mentorship I gained from my cooperating teacher at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Albert Paulsson. Both helped me find my own voice and encouraged me to keep things real in the way that has guided my success as an instructor.
Juggling full-time teaching with adjunct instruction gave me the confidence to pursue my M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University while I continued my work at GSB and later Morristown-Beard School, where I was hired to contribute to an exciting humanities curriculum initiative. I earned my degree from the History and Education program in 2014, thoroughly enjoying the scholarly opportunities that provided my own sense of intellectual balance alongside my classroom duties.
In the summer of 2014, after five years in the classroom and nearly ten involved in education in various capacities, I decided to leave MBS to pursue a new endeavor that speaks to my passion for helping students find a path to the right college for their needs. I relocated to New York City and recently debuted Summers Academy, my holistic college guidance firm serving New York and New Jersey. Summers Academy seeks to help students see beyond their test scores and stacked resumes to the things that make them truly unique individuals, and to use those qualities as their selling points to the schools of their choice. I am excited for the new challenges of this venture, and eager to expand on the ways in which I can improve students’ educational experiences beyond the role I have played thus far.
TPP gave me the confidence to share so much of the history that I learned as an undergraduate, and to do so in a setting that truly makes a difference. The positive feedback I have received from my students on the precipice of my new business stands as a testament to the importance of deeply invested educators, while affirming my choice to attend the program six years ago. TPP helps all of its participants feel brave enough to go against the grain of many of our peers’ paths and follow our hearts, asserting that we are on the frontline of the “Princeton in the nation’s service” motto.