My mom was right! As a teenager, I didn’t listen to her advice about how much I would love teaching. Instead, I earned a degree in journalism at SDSU and after several years of copy editing and graphic arts, I became our department’s trainer. It was then that I realized how much I loved to instruct and even more, how much I loved watching others learn. After returning to school to earn my elementary teaching credential, I was off and running into what would become my profession and calling. My mom passed away in 2005, but lucky for me, I was able to thank her for sending me in the right direction.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of teaching at The Rhoades School for the past 22 years. I started out as a long-term substitute teacher in first grade. I knew this school was a special place from the first day. I was amazed with the abilities of the children, the dedication of the staff, and the support of the parents. Luckily for me, a position became available that next fall, and I found myself teaching kindergarten with my new best friend, Julie Sugarman.
Prior to teaching at Rhoades, I taught in the San Diego Unified School District. My experience in the district focused on long-term substitute positions in GATE and Seminar classrooms. During this time, I also taught summer school and wrote curriculum for the San Diego Zoo.
My summer camp experience gave me an ease with learning names and helping children feel comfortable in new environments. Handling and showing animals was also a very special part of my position there. Watching a child’s reaction to meeting a great horned owl, an agouti, or a tamandua (or numerous other animals I was privileged to work with) was an amazing experience. I have always had a fascination for the animal kingdom and I enjoy bringing that knowledge and love to the kindergarten classroom.
In addition to zoology, general science has always been an area of special interest for me. As the Rhoades School grew and could accommodate more students, a science position was added for grades kindergarten through second. It was an honor to be asked to teach with Mrs. Roxanne Hunker. I instructed primary science (alongside kindergarten) for four years and stepped down from that position when Mr. Ruppert and I decided to become parents. Beginning two years ago, I was privileged to be stepping back into that role as the kindergarten science teacher for both classes.
My husband, Rhoades teacher Paul Ruppert, and I were thrilled to become parents when we traveled to China in February 2006 to bring home our beautiful daughter, Joy. We looked forward to the day when she could join us at Rhoades. Joy started kindergarten in 2010 with Mrs. Sugarman and she is in eighth grade this year. She is so happy at Rhoades, and we are delighted to have our entire family at this same wonderful school each day.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family, friends, cooking, and writing children’s books. We have four sweet pets at home-three cats and one dog, who keep me busy as well!