I am the author of four teacher resource books: “Quotes to Start the Day,” “Quotes That Bring History To LIfe,” “Quotes to Stretch Your Brain,” and “Quotes to Spark Discussion. My books are published by Incentive Publications/World Book. They are most suitable for Middle School students. They consist of a quote and a brief bio of the author of the quote and interactive activities for students. They can be used for character education, writing, and English activities, starters for thematic instruction and many other uses. Many have found them very useful for home schooling, as well. Their purchase price is $9.99. Recently, my latest book, Quoting Matilda: The Words and History of a Forgotten Suffragist, about Suffragist and Abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble,LitFire Publishers, The Syracuse Historical Society Bookstore, and local bookstores, including The Gage Museum Gift Shop and Seneca Falls Woman’s Heritage Museum Book Store. Softback, Hardbound and Kindle. I have also completed a screenplay that is being shopped around currently. It is all about Matilda Joslyn Gage and many of the important people she interacted with as an abolitionist, suffragist, writer, editor and passionate progressive social activist. She authored several books, including “Women As Inventors,” and “Woman, Church and State.” The working title is “The Matilda Effect.” The Matilda Effect is a real designation for women who have in vented or created things but a man gets the credit for it. Though this still happens, it was much more prominent when women did not have the right to get patents. I have had two of my poems published in Aaduna Magazine. I belong to a Writers Group that meets monthly. Many of my poems and essays are published in their annual publication called Voices in the Key of May.
For most of my career, I have been a teacher. I received my undergraduate degree from Illinois State University. My Masters and Reading Specialist degrees were obtained from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. From rural schools and double-grade classrooms in Grantfork, Illinois, to small towns such as my native Highland, the largest Swiss settlement in the United States, to quaint farm towns like Mulberry Grove, to Keystone Junior College in Pennsylvania and the suburban district of Abington Heights near Scranton, I have taught at every grade level, kindergarten through high school and adult. Then for 21 years in Syracuse I have managed to teach in every quadrant of the Syracuse City School District. In 1989 I was a supervisor and tutor in the initial year of the Liberty Partnership Program, administered by Lemoyne College. From this position at Nottingham High School I worked with at-risk students and their parents and teachers while supervising tutors from Lemoyne College. I joined the Syracuse School District the next year and was a Reading Specialist at Franklin Elementary on the north side of Syracuse and then at Bellevue Elementary on the west side of the city. Eventually, I landed at Clary Middle School on the south side. I taught there for 14 years until my retirement. Meanwhile, I also was a gymnastics judge and coach for many years. I was drawn into this last field by my daughters who were both excellent gymnasts all through their growing-up years and college.
I have kept very busy in “retirement.” I am a member and former co-chair of the Green Sanctuary/Social Justice Committee at May Memorial Unitarian-Universalist Society. I am also a board member there. For two years I was a part of the roundtable of Interfaith Works. I am a long-time member and editor of the newsletter for the Transpersonal Psychology Association of Syracuse. As I am an avid reader, I truly enjoy the book club in another organization that has been very important to me: Women Transcending Boundaries, a unique group of women representing almost every faith. I am now a president emeritus of this organization as I have just completed two years as its president. Another book group I belong to is Black Lives Matter. In addition, I volunteer for many organizations, including the Eastern Farm Workers, Samaritan Center, NOON (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation) and Women Transcending Boundaries. A new and important group that I am now part of is the Syracuse Sanctuary Coalition, a group of seven faith groups supporting immigrants.
Over the past dozen years I have had the opportunity to travel extensively to Israel (3 weeks), Tuscany (for an artists workshop near Sienna), Turkey (three times, 10 weeks in all), Thailand (3 weeks) and Europe (5 weeks: Berlin and many cities in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic). One of my trips had a very unusual itinerary: Mallorca to Barcelona to San Sebastian, then south to Albacete and Seville…and then to Istanbul and heading south again to Antalya and beautiful Kos in Turkey. There was another grand adventure as a Sierra Club Service Project on the island of Santa Catalina where we cleaned beaches, transplanted trees, tore down fences and more. Great to see the Wrigley cactus gardens there. Another service project trip was to the Big Island of Hawaii where I helped plant mamane and koa trees on the top of Mauna Kea. My friend Wanda and I did a service project trip to Lake Tahoe where we split logs, recovered seats in the Sierra Club Lodge and walked around Emerald Bay. Yosemite had long been on my bucket list and I finally got there recently. And then came a unique trip to Alaska, hosted all along the way by UU’s. My latest big trips were to Scotland and Ireland two years ago and a wonderful month-long Viking River Trip from Amsterdam down to Romania. I have created videos (many narrated, labeled and musically enhanced) which I use in presentations on these topics at various venues, including classes at OASIS. In addition, I have created and presented presentations on Cahokia Mounds, Alaska, Mythology and Ancient Civilizations of the Mediterranean, Thailand, Turkey, Joyce Carol Oates and Goddesses (including The Black Madonna: Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary) and Pele and the Huna Tradition. This summer I returned to Lake Tahoe for a second time. On this same trip, we explored St. Louis, the Baha’i Temple in Willamette, the architecture of Chicago, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland that my friend Aziz’s Uncle Ahmet Ertegun founded. This September we took a Carnival cruise in the Caribbean.
I also am a part time artist. I paint in the mediums of oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastel.
My daughters, sons-in law and grandchildren live nearby, and it is a joy to spend time with them often. We recently enjoyed our annual “Great American National Wildlife Association Backyard Campout.” My grandkids and I and several neighborhood kids sleep overnight in tents in my backyard. After breakfast the next morning (Usually I fix pancakes but this year my daughter Nikki brought over bagels!) we head to Green Lakes for an afternoon of swimming with some of the other moms.
I am a retired teacher who is busier than ever.