I’ve been a teacher since 1997 and a professor of literacy education since 2006. But, God is creative, and so now I’m discerning a ministry pathway and attending seminary part-time while continuing to work as a literacy researcher, teacher educator, and mom.
My academic career has been about writing and literacy learning, in and out of schools. I’ve spent much of the past ten years studying the writing lives of teachers; this work recently culminated in the book Coaching Teacher-Writers (2016, Teachers College Press) coauthored with Troy Hicks, Leah Zuidema, and Jim Fredricksen. I’ve also written about how teachers and children work together in school writing classrooms in schools, as well as how teachers learn and improve. More recently, I have been studying writing outside of school, including in religious ministry. You can learn more about my academic career and publications at my Penn State faculty site.
In 2014 I spent a sabbatical interviewing pastors about their writing lives as part of a research project. Spending 90 minutes in deep conversation with 40+ Christian pastors will influence a person! Way opened on to way, and I’m now a part-time seminarian at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg/soon-to-be United Lutheran Seminary. There’s a bit of a transition to be made from professor at a research university with 40,000+ students on campus to part-time online student in an institution serving 165.
All along the way, I am reading, writing, and living my life as intentionally as I can. It brings surprises, but it’s all I know how to do.