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That's a wrap on Summer!
Hey there, lovely readers! As the sun sets on another summer, I wanted to update you on what I’ve been up to and give you a preview of what’s next. First, the basics: there’s been sweating, swimming, camping, and lots of eating outside. These last few months have been busy and bountiful, from teaching at the Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education to picking up a new skill at the Penland School of Craft—and everything in between.
Some of you know that my husband and I left Oakland, CA, last January to move back to my hometown of Olympia, WA. I wasn’t actually born here, but I did graduate high school and college in this area. While it’s never easy to move, even back to a place I enjoyed so much in my youth, I’m so glad we did.
[My brilliant sister Lauren (on the left) and I around 2001]
Our new house came with a huge garden full of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. I’ve grown vegetables and herbs in pots for most of my adult life, but nothing compared to what we have now. There's something incredibly grounding about nurturing plants and watching them flourish under your care. First came the strawberries, then the raspberries, next artichokes, kale, Brussels sprouts, eggplants, tomatoes, herbs, and much more. I’m learning what many of you already know: gardening is magic, and gardeners are wizards. I guess that makes me a wizard now!
Another highlight was the opportunity to teach at the Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. This was my second year serving as faculty during our annual in-person residency in LA, and the exhilarating mix of excitement and nerves was just as strong as the first. Working with bright minds from diverse backgrounds, all passionate about envisioning a better world for neurodivergent children, always pushes me personally and pedagogically. We delved into discussions about innovation and leadership for a neurodiverse future and the transformative power of strength-based learning and talent development. Each day of class was a journey of exploration and growth for my students and myself.
[Me with my Bridges Family]
After Bridges, I traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to spend a couple weeks with my in-laws and take a sewing class at the beautiful and historical Penland School of Craft. I believe it’s essential for all professional educators to regularly put themselves into the role of student. Turning the table on myself and experiencing the vulnerability of immersing myself in a new skill allowed me to see some holes in my creative practice that needed mending (pun intended). After over 80 hours of class, I’m also proud to say that I came away with a wearable pair of pants and shorts! Watching my garments take shape was surprisingly therapeutic, and I gained a newfound appreciation for the artistry and patience that goes into creating handmade garments.
Amidst all this travel, I found connection and solace during an extended visit with my best friend Allie and her family (also from Olympia) and time spent with my sister Lauren. It always amazes me how just handing out and doing nothing of note with someone who knows you inside and out can rejuvenate and rekindle your will to learn, explore, and transform.
[I made these pants!]
My summer odyssey continues with new posts headed your way on liberatory design for neurodivergent children, including gradeless classrooms and strength-based curriculum design. I’m entering an additional new role with the graduate school (more on that soon!) and taking on new writing and speaking opportunities I’m excited to share with you in the coming weeks.
[Dr. Susan Baum left and Dr. Robin Schader (right)]
… I’m also reading over these last few paragraphs and cringe-laughing at the quintessentially middle-aged woman I’ve become. I’m out here living, laughing, and loving y’all! Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now it’s your turn to tell me about you! How was your summer, and what are you looking forward to this fall?