The future is far away and scary but today is lovely, wonderful and full of laughter. I choose to live with acceptance and hope, humor and tears, and thankfulness for God's grace. Who knew it could shield a mother from despair and offer delight?
BACKGROUND OF THE EDUCATED DEBUTANTE
I am a rural Eastern NC mother of four, one with extra special needs. Past preschool teacher, nanny, children's ski instructor, early interventionist, college professor, early childhood researcher, wife and full time mama. In writing after a twenty year hiatus, I offer personal glimpses where satire meets truth, faith meets irony, despair meets joy and this educated debutante escapes the laundry and finds true meaning in graceful transparency.
I am a born and raised in Eastern NC. I grew up in Rocky Mount and was raised Presbyterian though at 41 I was confirmed as an Episcopalian at our small town church in Edenton, St. Paul's Episcopal Church. My childhood was quite blissful and my brother had an idyllic childhood until cancer struck and within a year I was an only child. On my resumé, you will find preschool teacher, nanny, children's ski instructor, early interventionist, college professor, early childhood researcher, wife and full time mama. I have been married to my husband Thomas, who grew up in Raleigh, for nearly twenty one years and we have three sons and a daughter; our oldest is seventeen and our youngest is ten. His name is Amos and he is the subject of much of my writing as we learn to embrace the extra special need status that has blessed our family. I began writing in 2016 after a twenty year hiatus and I offer personal glimpses where satire meets truth, faith meets irony, despair meets joy and this educated debutante escapes the laundry and finds true meaning in graceful transparency.
I never set foot in public school until graduate school at the age of 21. I attended Rocky Mount Academy from Kindergarten through Eighth grade and then was accepted to Salem Academy and was a four year boarder there and graduated in 1993 from Salem Academy with a high school diploma and a profound knowledge of literature, as well as a fluent understanding in writing and speaking. My father bribed me with a car to attend Meredith College where I graduated a semester early and it truly was my best education experience. I majored in Child Development and was gently pushed and encouraged to work hard and dream big. I was miraculously accepted to UNC-CH upon graduation and completed a Master's of Education in Early Intervention with a specialty in Inclusion. I continued on the path of education and began a doctoral program in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction. I was awarded a full scholarship in the form of a research assistantship with the Howard Hughes Foundation.
While I was a student at Meredith College....I was a teaching assistant in a variety of preschools including a semester stint at a Waldorf Early School where I worked twenty hours a week and developed teaching plans and implemented activities.
Post Meredith....I was a preschool teacher at an inclusive preschool program, children's ski instructor in Aspen and global nanny for the family of John Oates, Hall & Oates.
While I was a student at UNC-CH....I worked as early intervention assistant in Wake County and was a student teacher at an inclusive Head Start program where again, I followed federal guideline and ensured the implementation of developmentally appropriate lesson plans.
While I was a student at NC State....I taught undergraduate teaching fellows at NC State, worked for the Provost, and was an evaluator with Wake County Grants Department. I was the evaluator for the Smaller Learning Communities Grant at three large high school and was responsible for ensuring each school spent their allotted $500,000 to meet grant goals and program objectives.
Post NC State....I had full time employment with Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute as a research assistant and program evaluator. I assisted in transforming community college curriculum in our state and traveled around the eastern part of the state supporting early childhood teachers who were enrolled in child development coursework. As a research assistant, I traveled around the country gathering data for a large research study on universal prekindergarten programs including states such as New York and California.
My lovely husband is also a graduate of NC State and an attorney in private practice in Gatesville, NC. He is very much involved in our family but I respect his privacy and try not to write too much about us. We are a good team and have been married for almost 21 years. Never did I dream of the wonderful person dad he would become and my biggest fan. He has encouraged me to chase my dreams in writing and gladly manned the household for days on end when I escape to write by the Atlantic Ocean in a little town called Pine Knoll Shores where the children and I spend each summer, a bit of old fashioned childhood for the taking.
My husband and I have four children and they are currently 17, 15, 14, and 10. Next year they will all be served at our local public elementary school where I will serve again as PTA President. My older two boys are just a year and a half apart and night and day. My daughter who followed them not quite two years later attacks life with a joyful vengeance and her gap toothed smile is an indicator of her strong presence. My youngest son is ten and is the star of our family; his special needs have changed us all for the better but the road has not been easy and it has been littered with blood, sweat, and tears. His future seems more unsure than my other children though none of us are promised tomorrow and we are so hopeful he will one day find his words.
I was younger sister to Adam Russell Harrold for fifteen years, three months, fourteen days, eleven hours and forty five minutes. The time I had to emulate him was magical and his very self offered an example of love, selflessness and humor. How I miss him.
My mom and dad spend their time between Florida and North Carolina and have been married over fifty years. They have been the long time cheerleaders for me in providing access to excellent education opportunities and supporting my off center plans to live in Swaziland or Aspen, in the name of exploration.