After 18 years of growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota, I earned an AA degree at Grand View Junior College and my BS at Drake University, both in Des Moines, Iowa. I started my teaching career as an elementary teacher on Bromley Mission, Liberia, as a Peace Corps volunteer, then to Midland Park, NJ, Minneapolis, MN, Honolulu, HI, Ankeny, IA, and Iowa City, IA, where I earned my MS from the University of Iowa.
Then I returned to Minnesota, this time to the “U” for my PhD in reading, which led to my first professorship. At the University of New Hampshire (UNH) I researched with Don Graves to study the teaching of writing and reading from one authentic lens. We started with the processes writers use and collected qualitative data in K-12 classrooms where teachers who knew about writing used that information to inform their reading instruction. After Don’s retirement I continued with this work as the leader of a research project in Manchester, NH.
After 20 years at UNH I moved to the University of Virginia (UVA), where I continued to collect data twice a week in classrooms, this time with an emphasis on writing across the curriculum. In the research teams of doctoral students and classroom teachers we studied student writing to further our understanding of the uses of writing as a mode of learning.
I retired from UVA in May 2013, and continue to work, on my own, with teachers, schools, and school divisions that are interested in writing. Plus, I bike frequently with my husband, run with my age group in the local Women’s 4-Miler, spend time with a fun Liberian-American family, continue with my book group, and revise Minnesota gardening methods to meet success in the red clay of my Virginia yard.