top of page
Santa Cruz Island_edited_edited_edited.j



​I love to do exciting things both in the classroom and out. Whether it's riding the largest ziprider in Alaska with my son,  kayaking in sea caves with my students or riding horses in Yosemite National Park,  I enjoy adventure.  I did my best, as a teacher, to bring this joy in life, in learning and in exploring to the classroom. I hiked with my students in Yosemite, camped on Santa Cruz Island with them, took them  whale watching, observed elephant seals in their natural habitat in Ano Nuevo and many other activities. My goal was to inspire and motivate them to want to learn.


I have been intrigued and passionate about teaching and training since I was a little girl and I still am.  Teaching and training are both challenging and rewarding. Since both are dynamic processes they are never boring and cause a person to have to think through what is and what isn't working.  I started as a little girl by training our family birds, then the dogs and this led to my desire to train horses. I have learned so much by training 1200 lb. prey animals, especially wild ones, that I was able to apply my learning to the classroom.  When you put too much pressure on a 1200 lb. prey animal that is a big mistake. So, don't put too much pressure on a student either. Don't back them into a corner. Give them options.  If you back a horse into a corner you risk being physically hurt.  If you back a student into a corner you risk an awkward confrontation in front of other students because now that student feels pressured in front of peers. If you are a calm leader with a horse or a student, that works very well. If you are timid in any way, that horse knows immediately and so do students.  If you are too dominant with a horse, that is also a bad idea.  Sounds pretty simple theoretically, but when you are in the thick of the moment, in front of a full classroom of students, it's not always easy to remember. Every move you make, every look, every action has a meaning to a horse and also to a human. The basic training principles are the same.  The horse is so big, so sensitive and so aware, that training them helped me in the classroom.


As I learned more about how to train, through experience and by taking courses, I began to teach people. I gave dog obedience lessons and horseback riding lessons. I love helping the person/animal team to work well together and find joy in their relationship.  I realized that I enjoyed this so much that I wanted to become a classroom teacher. Since science was always my favorite subject in school I became a science teacher.  I started with middle school and then moved on to high school.  Although I have retired from full-time teaching, I continue to study the learning process and share what I have learned and continue to learn. 


It is my desire to continue to help teachers through my articles, books, blog posts, lesson plans and books. ​I taught science in low-income, diverse public schools throughout my twenty-seven-year teaching career. I was a master teacher and mentor and later served as adjunct faculty for Fresno Pacific University. There I taught Science Methods and was a mentor teacher for 8 years. I have an AS in Animal Science, a BA in life sciences, an authorization in chemistry and an MS in psychology with an emphasis on the learning process.  


I was so inspired by what I learned about the brain and learning in my  master's classes that I began to teach the basics of this to my students. The time spent on this in class improved their overall performance and attitude towards learning so was well worth it! My second and upcoming book will be a practical guide for teachers with brain-based lesson plans that I developed, tested and that worked well for me and my students.  


Throughout my career I taught physical science, integrated Science II, biology, ecology, anatomy and physiology, senior project, biochemistry, chemistry and AP environmental Science. I was on the design team for an innovative project-based learning school, the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) where the focus was on project-based learning and partnering students with local business's in the area. I taught in the Biomedicine Lab with an interdisciplinary team and was the lead for finding and developing mentors for 120 students.


 I am passionate about education and supporting teachers. I am sharing my experiences in user-friendly stories in my first book, "Wait, Don't Quit." You can find me on Teachers Pay Teachers and and read articles and blog posts on this website. I live in the Puget Sound, Washington, have three adult sons and four grandchildren. In my spare time, I breed and train horses.

M.S. in Psychology
Dog Trainer and Enthusiast

II earned my M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis on the brain and the learning process. I found this totally fascinating and applied what I learned to my classroom. I started spending more time teaching my students about the brain and what has to happen at the organic level in order for learning to occur. They loved this and so did I!

I have enjoyed training dogs since I was a child.  I started with our family dogs, took dog obedience courses, trained and competed in AKC dog obedience, judged and gave dog obedience courses.  I continue to enjoy and study this as I thrive on continuing to learn. With our Border Collies I learned how to train them to work sheep and cattle.  It is a lot of fun to for them and for me!

Animal Training Course with Dr. Jenifer Zeligs

Because of my insatiable desire to continue to learn more about behavior and training I took an Animal Training course from Dr. Jenifer Zeligs, PhD in Animal Behavior, and a 5-day intensive internship where I learned how sea lions are trained. This  was a wonderful opportunity to expand my training skills. Everything I learned in this course was applicable to training all species of animals, horse, human, dog, and to the classroom.

Riding Instructor School

To expand and extend my teaching and training skills I spent 2 years in a riding instructor school. The objective was to enhance my level of education in both riding and in teaching my human students. Teaching people how to ride is both fun and rewarding and added to my skill set for the classroom. When you are teaching someone how to ride you now have 2 brains to work with at the same time, the horse and the human's. This adds an entire new layer of complexity to the teaching and learning process.  

bottom of page