Meet Our Principal
What inspired you to pursue a career in education and eventually become the Principal of Hearthstone Charter School?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was in middle school, babysitting my weekends away with neighborhood kids of all ages. I was (and continue to be) inspired in every endeavor by the inherent joy in youth, their willingness to try new things, and the speed of their growth when they feel safe to take risks. I enjoyed 13 fulfilling years teaching primarily 4th-6th grades and 14 more years as a Principal of students in all grades TK-12. The opportunity to work for Hearthstone spoke to me as both a challenge and an invitation; a challenge to learn and support students in their educational journey from an independent study perspective and an invitation to join the esteemed Butte County Office of Education.
As the new Principal, what are your primary goals for the school's future?
My immediate goal at Hearthstone is to create culture, cohesion, clarity, and direction with staff. We have many new and "newish" staff on campus, and our school has seen some turnover in administration. We know that schools operate at the highest levels of efficiency when staff feel safe working together toward a common goal and in a mutually respectful and FUN environment. From there, we will focus on further defining and implementing our multi-tiered support systems for students, ensuring we have an appropriate adult response to just about every student challenge. This won't happen overnight, and it will take the expertise of all campus stakeholders, sustained professional development, and competent facilitation to achieve these goals over time.
Can you share some of your previous experiences in the field of education that have prepared you for this leadership role at Hearthstone Charter School?
During my time as a teacher, I taught in a 90-10 bilingual model. I speak Spanish fluently, which has been a tremendous asset working in Butte County, as well as raising two bilingual daughters. My years as a school administrator include five years in a TK-2nd grade school, eight total years in middle school, and one year as a vice principal at a large comprehensive high school. Additionally, I work very closely with Chico State, serving on two Advisory Boards and collaborating around the selection and placement of Resident (Student) Teachers in the north state.
What are some of your favorite hobbies or pastimes outside of your role as Principal at Hearthstone Charter School?
When I am not "Principaling," my family and my hobbies keep me pleasantly active. I have an exceptionally patient husband and two brilliant daughters with whom I love spending time. I am the proud Team Director for the 6-12th grade Mountain Bike Team in Chico called North State Composite MTB - look us up! - Fall is registration season, and we take athletes from all over Butte County. I love to read, but primarily as a tool to wind down the brain and settle into an early slumber. I work out at the crack of dawn every day. I hike, camp, swim, and throw balls around. I nap. And I wish I didn't love ice cream as much as I do.
In your opinion, what are the most critical factors that contribute to a positive and nurturing learning environment for students, and how will you ensure these factors are prioritized at Hearthstone?
I believe that one of the most crucial factors that define a learning environment for students is how staff interact and treat one another. On a campus where staff members feel they are in competition with one another for resources or attention or where the adults have unaddressed and perpetuated conflict, students feel this tension and are less likely to partner with us in their education. However, school campuses absolutely thrive when the adults in the building celebrate students and one another, feel safe to express their opinions and suggestions, practice respectful methods of conflict resolution, strongly believe in student potential, and, most importantly, have FUN at work. This year, we will prioritize our celebratory school climate with staff AND students.
How do you plan to engage with parents, teachers, and students to foster a strong sense of collaboration and support for the school's mission?
Our families are the heart of our school. When I was hired at Hearthstone, I was delighted to learn that we have a full-time position of Parent Liaison, something I have not experienced in 28 years of education, and a testament to the priority we place on developing and sustaining a strong educational partnership with the whole family. Our mission is "to foster academic and social-emotional development by empowering students to explore their own potential. We provide the path and tools that enable our students to become agents of their own lifelong learning." To this end, I plan to continue our reputation for the practices of: frequent school-to-home communication, celebratory and educational evening events, student inclusion in school leadership and decision-making, strong relationships with community partners, and collaboration with (our) Butte County Office of Education.
What is one of your favorite childhood memories, and why does it stand out to you?
The memories that stand out for me as a child are those that celebrated me as a young girl. My childhood story, as many are, was fraught with insecurity and self-imposed trauma. I clearly remember being a student aide for our counseling office at my junior high, some of the toughest emotional years of my life. Mr. Jensen, a History teacher that I never otherwise had in class, would compliment me each time I had to deliver a note to his classroom. I looked forward to going into his room because I knew I'd leave with a small but needed boost to my confidence for the day. Because of this experience, you will often hear me complimenting our students, letting them know that they are seen and that they are special.
As a leader, what aspects of your personality and leadership style do you believe will have the most positive impact on the overall school culture and atmosphere at Hearthstone?
We all have our strengths and styles, don't we? I am certainly saddled with my share of character flaws upon which I regularly seek to improve. But, overall, staff, students, and families can count on me to bring an optimistic, value-added, cheerful, "glass half full" perspective to all situations. I believe that EVERYONE brings strengths to our team. I have loads of energy and can be your strongest cheerleader when you need one. I have an eager listening ear, and I work to find solutions that meet the needs of all stakeholders. I truly believe in inviting all voices to the table, and ultimately, I can be relied on to make the final decision when needed.