My favorite moments working in journalism have been when I knew a connection was made. It’s sometimes an almost palpable feeling I’ve told an important story. It’s nice to know I’ve contributed to something bigger in even a small way, whether by shining a light into someone’s life or describing a situation with a unique, fresh angle that offers a new perspective. Covering schools is a great way to make those kinds of connections, and it is a major reason I am so excited to report for the School News Network.
There are so many students, teachers, parents and other advocates in public schools that work every day to make school a great place to be. They touch the lives of everyone, and it’s important to give them the exposure they deserve. I cover four districts: Kelloggsville, Byron Center, Caledonia, and Godwin Heights all which have unique identities and cultures, while facing many of the same challenges. I hope to represent each of them as accurately as possible.
I have covered education in several local districts over the years, and I have always been impressed by the many ways educators impact the lives of those around them. That kind of impact has always been a part of my life. The foundation of my strong appreciation for the teaching profession comes from my mother, who taught elementary school for more than 30 years, always working harder than anybody I know to build enthusiasm in the classroom. She was and is a teacher in every way, in every setting, seamlessly combining love and education.
She wore both mother and educator hats with her kids while I was growing up, and my brothers and I went through her classroom at Holy Name of Jesus School. I always joked that she liked to follow us up through the grades, knowing she could teach us better than the rest! She would also adapt to changing needs.
While already holding a master’s plus 30, she returned to college to earn her special education degree to help my youngest brother, who needed special education services, in the best possible way she could. She landed a job teaching him (and many other children with varying degrees of need) at Jackson Park Middle School. After several years, she returned to regular education at Rogers Lane Elementary School and finally Gladiola Elementary School. She has continued her passion, now teaching my kids, her grandchildren, in Faith Formation classes at St. John Vianney Catholic School. She also arrives to my house twice weekly, fresh learning materials always in tow, to tutor.
Besides writing, I spend my time raising my two children, age 9 and 6, with my husband Ignazio. We are always on the go, enjoying long bike rides, relaxing weekends at our family’s cottage on Gun Lake, and taking many excursions to the YMCA. We are an easygoing, fun family and love to just be together. My children attend Wyoming Public Schools, and are lucky and happy to have great teachers and friends. They may take after me: they always come home at the end of the day with new stories! Read Stories by Erin