Most Recent Book Title
Heart Prints
Book Description
Each of us has a story. Each of us is unique. Writing my story was difficult because it was not just my story. My family, my students, and my fellow teachers became an integral part of my every day. Our lives were so intertwined and connected that it was impossible to separate the two. Heart Prints is that story, our story. After I became a Freedom Writer teacher in July of 2007, my life as a teacher changed beyond words. I learned from Erin Gruwell how to teach with my heart so that the rest will follow. I learned to “put myself out there” so that my student would learn to trust me. I learned that sometimes the hardest stories, the ones that tore us up and spit us out, were the ones which made us stronger. This book encourages teachers to open their hearts and their eyes to the students in each of their classrooms. This book exposes the realities of the classroom when a teacher realizes that each person has a story to tell and each person has a voice that needs to be heard. This book is a story of connections, success, heartbreak and love. This book is an impassioned call to learn to teach, love and speak with your heart and your life will never be the same. This book is filled with honesty, despair, victories and tears. Through my voice as a teacher and my student’s voices as they reflect on our time together, our world of connections comes to light through Heart Prints, a story filled with hope.
Additional Book Titles
Teaching Hope
Location (city/state/country)
Lancaster, PA, United States
Author bio
Born in Birmingham, Alabama and having moved around the south and Midwest for most of my elementary years, I moved to Lancaster, PA when I was thirteen years old. I graduated from Gannon University in 1983 with an Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting and from Millersville University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in English Education.

I worked for fifteen years in both public education and private educational facilities. I served as the English Department Chairperson for eight years. In July of 2007, I was picked from over 10,000 applicants to work with Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers Foundation and am currently one of 400 educators worldwide certified as a Freedom Writer teacher. For the past eight years, I have also worked as an adjunct for the Pennsylvania Writing Institute, held at Millersville University. In August, 2010, I became a published author with the release of Teaching Hope, a compilation of stories from the classroom written by the Freedom Writer teachers along with Erin Gruwell. In May, 2014, my memoir of my classroom experiences, along with the voices of over 20 of my former students, was published by Library Tales titled Heart Prints.

I am currently employed with Thom Stecher and Associates teaching several Master level classes: Project Based Learning, Writing to Heal and Making Connections through Reading and Writing. I created Connections Count! in 2014, which is an interactive presentation for educators, administrators, school boards, and pre-service teachers. I have been married to my husband, Mike, for 30 years and we have three children: Michelle, 28; JoAnne, 26; and Stephen, 21.
Professional Speaker Topics
Connections Count! - An interactive presentation on the importance of forming relationships and the difference it can make.

Freedom Writers
Re-igniting Passions
At-Risk Students and their successes
Sexual Assault
Favorite Quote or Personal Motto

"Be Kind to One Another", Ellen DeGeneres

"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway." Mother Teresa

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