1. You have a Master of Arts in education policy, organization, and leadership. Why did you decide to pursue this degree and what elements of it do you use daily?
My father was a bird photographer, and I was blessed to be able to travel the world with him. I would spend a month in Europe, Africa, or Brazil and just absorb everything. Later when I went to college, I studied abroad in Italy, and this experience ignited my passion for travel and culture. I decided to pursue teaching internationally and wanted to do so with intention. At the University of Illinois, I could focus my studies on international education and complete a hybrid study abroad component. I spent time in Chile, focusing on the Pinochet’s dictatorship and the subsequent educational privatization and voucher system. In Egypt, I examined the youth movement’s use of social media and how education and revolution affect culture and educational reform.
2. What novel affected you most deeply when you were in middle school?
I was actually a very reluctant reader in middle school. I struggled with my reading stamina and fluency. This is why I work in middle school now. It is never too late to be a reader. I read Harry Potter as an adult, and I still think it is the most moving narrative. The characters are complex and flawed and yet mostly good at heart, just like us.
3. If you had the ability to compete in the Olympics, what event would you want to be in?
I would do the high jump or gymnastics. It’s the closest thing to flying.
4. What animal are you the most like? Why?
The basset hound. I’m full of energy but LOVE couch naps.
5. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Leave people better than when you greet them. It reminds me to be purposeful in my interactions and to strive to be patient and kind.
6. You’re the coordinator for Graded’s Model United Nations (MUN) program and have led the program in other countries, too. What are three concrete benefits you see in students who have participated?
Students who participate in this program become more empathetic, empowered as active participants on the world stage, and fierce advocates of their thoughts and goals.
7. To what degree are you patriotic?
I love America in the same way I love Brazil. They are both my home, both different and the same in my heart. Both places have made me who I am today, and I am beyond proud to have both as “home.”
8. You love to travel. What underappreciated place would you suggest everyone visit?
SÃO PAULO. I love this city with all of my heart. So many people ask me about Rio or the beaches but this for me is one of the greatest cities in the world. São Paulo is full of life and there is something for everyone here. I love the diversity the city has to offer. I love the street art, and how it’s ever-changing. The city is full of trees, food, people, and art. Every time I leave my house I discover something new that I fall in love with.
9. What is something that you should throw away, but can’t? Explain.
Keys. I have the keys to every place I have ever lived. I feel connected to them. If I throw a key away, it feels like I am cutting that part off, closing the door, although I’m sure none of my keys work anymore.
10. What is your favorite thing about Graded?
Graded is a fun place to learn both for kids and teachers. I love the people I work with because they love what they do and care about kids so much. Learning and students really are at the center of every conversation at Graded. My outstanding colleagues inspire me to grow, and my administrators encourage me to strive for excellence and support me through relevant, current professional development. I can’t believe I get paid to come to Graded every day, a place where I laugh and read with kids. It’s hard work, but I won the lottery of jobs.