Okay. Not really. But this quote from “Steel Magnolias” comes to mind every time I think about how I have arrived at this professional juncture. Integrity. Conviction. Ardor. COMMUNITY. All of these have played an integral role in the decisions that have led to the announcement I am proud to make today. Most of all, though, it is the children who have led me here. In my role as a staff developer over the past year, the best part of my job has been what I’ve loved most since I walked into my first classroom in Walnut Hill, Florida in 1998: the tiny humans. They are my why – and my how, when, and where, too. I am a classroom teacher at heart. I always will be. I believe this is why I am uniquely positioned to make a broader and more profound impact on children’s lives by embarking on a journey alongside the educators who serve them.
KINDER BENDER, which began as a quippy blog name, is now KINDER BENDER Consulting, LLC. I have felt both thrilled and terrified as I take steps to start my own business. More than any other emotion, however, I have felt loved. The universe has put so many brilliant and kind cheerleaders in my path who have convinced me that this is the time and I am an important part of a community of thinkers, writers, speakers, and educators who are rising up to dismantle all forms of oppressive harm in our schools and build anti oppressive systems that affirm the humanity of all children. I cannot wait to partner with organizations and schools working to align their actions with these values.
I will be a consultant focused on equity and inclusion, building joyful and meaningful learning environments for early childhood students and multilingual language learners, and literacy instruction. Additionally, I will be setting aside time to write professional texts that will help educators love children more deeply and embrace pedagogies of liberation, imagination, serendipity, and joy, beginning with finishing The Possibilities of Poetry with Clare Landrigan, which will be published by Stenhouse. I also want to be a children’s book author when I grow up!
I look forward to the future with anticipation and hope. Thank you to all who are with me on this intoxicating journey. . .