From an early age I’ve been interested in newspapers and journalism. I was born into a large Catholic family in Evansville, Indiana. We never realized how far south we were in the southwest corner of Indiana on the Kentucky border until we moved to St. Joseph, Michigan. I was in the eighth grade and other kids made fun of our slightly twangy southern accent.
In St. Joseph, we subscribed to three daily newspapers (albeit mostly for the sports pages, as we were huge Chicago Cubs fans): South Bend Tribune, Chicago Tribune and the local Herald Palladium. While attending Lake Michigan Catholic High School in St. Joe, I was a yearbook editor and took a keen interest in journalism and publishing. My parents instilled in us the value of education with the expectation that we would go to college and all of us did. I went on to graduate from Central Michigan University with a major in journalism and minors in education and English.
I started my career as a high school English and journalism teacher first at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Michigan, and then at St. Stephen High School, in Saginaw, Michigan. I enjoyed getting to know the students, especially while serving as the yearbook and newspaper advisor. It was a tough time to be a teacher in the early 1980s with layoffs and callbacks common. After five years of teaching I decided I wanted first-hand experience in journalism and communications. I landed in the Grand Rapids area in the mid 1980s and have been here ever since.
I covered Sparta, Kent City and Northview schools during stints as a reporter with the Advance Newspapers and Mlive. I worked as a business reporter for MiBiz and agriculture reporter for Great American Publishing. I gained 15 minutes of pre-internet notoriety by writing the first guidebook on bicycling in Michigan – “Cycling Michigan: 25 of the Best Bike Routes in Western Michigan.” About 10 years ago I co-founded the Michigan Trails Magazine, an annual magazine and website with 65,000 copies distributed around the state and beyond every year.
I am very pleased to be covering Comstock Park schools for School News Network. I am excited to be reunited with some of my journalism colleagues who also write for SNN. I’m very impressed with students, parents and teachers in Comstock Park, and their interests, professionalism, scope of activities, and dedication and enthusiasm for the district. I’ve been a resident of the Westgate neighborhood of Comstock Park since 2002 and am happy to be working in Comstock Park.
When not working, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, activities such as hiking and cycling and Zumba, photography and reading. Unique habits include drinking iced tea in the morning (a southern thing I guess) and watching true crime shows.