I was born and raised in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. From a very young age my parents encouraged me to be independent and interested in other cultures and people. I took my first real international trip during the summer after tenth grade when my Girl Scout troop spent two weeks in England and Switzerland visiting the WAGGGS World Centers in London and Adelboden. From then on, I was hooked.
I attended Marywood University, a small liberal arts college in Scranton, PA, where I studied Special Education and Elementary Education. While enrolled, I participated in a number of service trips, including working at a nursing home in Garrison, NY, volunteering in schools on American Indian reservations in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and performing deconstruction of ruined homes in New Orleans, Louisiana. I also had the opportunity to travel to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala for an incredible cultural exchange and series of service projects.
In Spring 2005 I set out on 100-day, round-the-world voyage on Semester at Sea. We braved ridiculous storms and gigantic waves, and ended up visiting Canada, Hawaii, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Venezuela before returning to the US This trip changed me in ways I still find difficult to describe. It was the single best experience of my life.
After I graduated with my teaching degree, I worked for two years in Glen Burnie, MD, just outside of Baltimore. I taught students in grades 3-5 with special needs, and while I loved the students and my co-workers, two years of dealing with bureaucracy and high stakes testing had me looking for something new.
In August 2009 I moved to Seoul, South Korea to work for the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. I spent two years teaching roughly 600 students a week in grades 1-6. I lucked into a wonderful school with enthusiastic, hilarious students and supportive co-teachers. I also happened to amass one of the greatest groups of friends a girl could ask for, who helped make my experiences there all the richer. While living in Korea I had the opportunity to travel extensively in Asia, visiting seven new countries during my vacation time. Read about my time in Korea over at Adventures in SoKo.
So why did I leave Korea? Simple...I got into Harvard. I attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education for the 2011-2012 school year and earned my MEd in International Education Policy. I am awed and honored to have been chosen to be part of an incredible cohort full of passionate, interesting people from around the world that I have no doubt are going to effect great and lasting change in the world. I also got to learn from some of the most fantastic professors, travel to Morocco to evaluate the educational system (you can read about that over at Chasing Bright Spots), and present a paper at the Comparative and International Education Society's annual conference in Puerto Rico. Who could ask for more?
After graduating in May 2012, I returned back to Anne Arundel County Public Schools where I once again took up teaching special education, but this time for the short term. At the same time, I applied for what felt like a billion jobs. In November and December 2012, the stars finally aligned, and I was offered a position at an organization working to meet the educational needs of kids in some of the most vulnerable communities in Kenya. I lived in Nairobi, Kenya from January 2013 - March 2014, when I moved back to the US to transition out of our company. (You can read about those adventures at Meaghan the Mzungu.) But leaving the company wasn't in the cards, and less than a month after moving home, I found myself right back in that crazy, mixed up city, doing work I love with people who inspired me and made me laugh every single day.
In December of 2014 I accepted my third job with the company and moved to our office in Cambridge, MA. I started work on our training team, preparing our school leaders with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to be successful. I got to be on the ground for our lauches in two new countries (Uganda in Feb 2015 and Nigeria in Sept 2015) and spend more time in Kenya, my second home.
Because I can rarely stay in one place too long, I moved yet again in January of 2016 to Washington, DC, where we opened an office that is home to our global Customer Experience vertical. The year brought launches in two new countries (India in May 2016 and Liberia in Sept 2016) and lots of time travelling to our existing markets. I also snuck in a few side trips! I am always looking for new adventures, and chronicle them on the MKS Adventures blog.
My next big adventure begins in earnest in January 2018 as I work to start a revolutionary charter school, BOLT Academy, in Washington, DC. Stay tuned for more!