After earning her Master in Teaching, Amy realized her deep passion for supporting students with unique learning needs and returned to school for an endorsement in special education. She has been teaching at Helen Baller Elementary School for 12 years. In her position as a teacher of students with significant learning challenges, she collaborates with staff, parents, and community to develop individualized plans that focus on each student's unique skills, abilities, and interests to help them find their place among their peers in the school community. Amy does not live in a world of deficits. She lives and teaches a world of possibilities, potential, and opportunities.
Amy's belief that she can have a broader impact in the community calls her to be both a leader and a learner. She is an active participant in the Camas Special Education Leadership Team, helping to establish program norms and professional development opportunities for colleagues. She participates in Professional Learning Communities where she has developed her understanding of trauma-informed teaching and educating students who experience poverty. Amy's broad knowledge of state services and agencies enables her to connect families with outside supports. In her position as a liaison and advocate she models her belief that all children are "not yours, not mine, but ours."
Amy believes all children can learn, and to achieve her vision of academic success for all she implements innovative strategies geared to students' strengths. She develops ways, through collaboration with general education teachers, to integrate her students into their communities. She believes in the power of inclusion when everyone can participate in learning together and experience diversity as an asset. Amy's personal life mission is to change the way people view people with special needs and change the way people with special needs see themselves.
“I trust Amy with my son because she treats him with love and respect, as a dignified human being even when his behavior is less than dignified (which is frequently),” says parent Julie Hillyard. “The tragedy is that the academic successes celebrated in her classroom will never win a competition or be featured on a standardized test. But each of those victories represents a big miracle. I’m not sure there is a higher teaching calling than the one she has embraced and dedicated her lift to. I literally thank God for the role she has played in my life and that of my son.”