Hello Dr. Stirm,
I read your recent newsletter call for alumni to share stories of their career paths.
I graduated from UWEC with a degree in comprehensive English education in 2008. After graduation, I taught sophomore English at Bayport High School in Green Bay. I continued my education at UW-Oshkosh earning a MS in educational leadership. I then took a job as the assistant principal at Gibraltar Area Schools in Door County WI. While there, I completed a graduate certificate in school law from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in pupil services at UWEC. This summer I moved back to the Green Bay area and took a job as the director of special education and curriculum and instruction at Freedom Area School District - a PK-12 public school district outside of Green Bay. I am also currently a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University in their Ed.D. program. My dissertation work is focused on math instruction for students with learning difficulties.
I am forever grateful for my background in writing that I have from my undergraduate work at UWEC. I really feel that this has given me skills and confidence to engage in high level academic research.
Several faculty members at UWEC have had a lasting impact on my career. First, I remember taking a class from Dr. Tim Hansen (retired) and realizing that teaching English would be a great career for me. His encouragement was instrumental in my choice of major. I took a number of classes from Dr. Deb Barker and TA'ed for her. Her teachings on equity changed my perspective and have had a lasting impact on my work with students with disabilities. I also fell in love with the writing of Louise Erdrich and continue to read her fiction. Dr. Carmen Manning was my undergraduate advisor and her perspectives on teaching and learning were essential to my success working with students.
Additionally, I met my spouse, Carrie Weiss while sitting in a class at UWEC. She is also a 2008 graduate from the UWEC English program with an undergraduate degree in scientific and technical writing. She pursued her reading specialist license and currently works at Freedom as a 7th grade ELA teacher and reading interventionist. We have two children, Grace (3) and Adrian (6 months).
It's safe to say that the UWEC English department shaped my personal and professional life. I would love the opportunity to work with undergraduate students in the English Education program. I can speak to a number of current topics in education including hiring, job application, first year teaching experiences, and teaching best practices.
Thanks for this trip down memory lane!