Tell the HTA Ohana a little bit about yourself, Kristie: My husband and I have known each other since 9th grade, and have been married for 14 years. I have two boys, Zandyr (11) and Ayden (9), a dog named Duke and a cat named Gizmo. We have lived on Maui for 10 years, and are eagerly awaiting the completion of our brand new home which should be done in June. We love playing at the beach, in the water, running, hiking, and adventuring together.
Can you share a bit about your academic background? I started college as a pre-med student when I was a high school junior. I completed my associate's degree in general sciences with a focus in pre-med right after I graduated from High School, I was accepted to the University of Washington School of Medicine. I wasn’t excited, and I decided to change my mind and attended Pacific Lutheran University for Political Science. I ended up majoring in Secondary Education, with minors in History, English, and Visual Arts. I went straight into a Master of Education program at the University of Washington. I continued on with schooling, completing my Educational Specialist Degree in the area of Teacher Leadership from Walden University.
What made you interested in teaching? To be honest, I decided to become a teacher because I hated high school. I was just another face in the crowd and was constantly dismissed because I came from a single parent family. Granted I was a bit of a punk kid and tried my best to stand out, but regardless of my grades or brightly dyed hair, I was still invisible. I made the decision to start teaching because I wanted to make sure that young people knew they were valued and could honestly make a difference, regardless of their background, their family, or where they came from.
What is your first memory associated with teaching? I was a very ambitious new teacher, spending hours upon hours in the classroom. One of my first memories was spending the entire weekend decorating my classroom as an ‘Indian’ Marketplace. The outside door to the classroom was decorated like the Taj Mahal and students entered a large butcher paper archway into the classroom, where they were greeted with extravagant pillows, Indian decor, souvenirs, pictures of famous people, and a station to read about The Untouchables. I was so excited Monday morning for my 9th-grade students to come and ‘experience’ India. However, they hated it! As soon as they saw my room they started grumbling - I had other students shutting down. I realized that day that it didn’t matter how excited I was about something. I needed the students to be excited and to ‘own’ their learning experiences. It was a heartbreaking, but rewarding experience.
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about being a teacher? I care about my students - every single one of them. I work really hard to build relationships with them the first couple weeks of school, and I have found that this is rewarding and also challenging. I know that through relationships and trust I can get students to dig deeper into content, take risks with their learning, and make mistakes. It also helps me to be my sarcastic self with them because they know that I only pick on them because I care. Some relationships are forged more quickly than others; however, at the end seeing my students reach their goals, graduate, or attain other accomplishments along the way makes the stressful moments worth it.
Hobby? Lifting Heavy Things
Song? This is Halloween
Book? Classic Tales of Horror
Travel Destination? Maui :)
Quote? If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.
If you were to summarize “YOU” in only one sentence, what would that sentence be? I thrive in chaos.