A Midwesterner by birth, I was born in Hannibal, Missouri, where I spent the first 8 years of my life surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My dad was a minor league baseball pitcher, a career which I’ve always thought was extremely exciting and always include as part of my life story. By the time I was five, he was working for a furniture store and turned that experience into a successful lifelong career. His success took us first to Illinois and then to a small town in Ohio. After graduating from high school, I attended Miami University and graduated with a degree in education. This was a turbulent time in America: the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy assassinations occurred, the Vietnam War was raging, poor people were marching on Washington, the women’s liberation movement was beginning, and students were killed at Kent State, less than 100 miles away. To demonstrate my solidarity with all of these causes, there were many times I wore a black armband. These social and political events strongly shaped my life.
After college graduation, I married my high school sweetheart, and we moved to Bloomington, Indiana for grad school and my first teaching experience. From there we moved to Westchester County, New York and then on to Raleigh, North Carolina where I continued to teach. My son, Ben, was born there. In 1982, as my husband took a job with Vanderbilt, we moved to Nashville and I started teaching at Oak Hill School. Throughout my 20 years of teaching, I always felt there was another path for me. So, when my marriage began to falter and then die, I decided to reinvent myself. So, I quit teaching and enrolled at MTSU to pursue a degree in historic preservation. One of the best life decisions I ever made.
In 1996, I became the executive director of Travellers Rest Plantation and Museum. During my five years there, I joined my first board of directors, The Nashville City Cemetery Association serving from 1999-2004 and as President in 2003. These were great opportunities to get my feet wet, hone my leadership skills and gain understanding of how the Nashville nonprofit community works. During those years I met my future boss, Ralph Schulz, and mentor, Janet Jernigan.
In 2002, I became Director of Education at Adventure Science Center. During my 13 years in that role, I led two expansion projects totaling $26 million. Recognizing the value and opportunities of CABLE, ASC became a corporate member in 2004. My roles in CABLE included Civic Outreach, Networking (Chair), golf tournament (Co-Chair), Programs (Chair), and finally board chair 2012-2013. Other board service included Benton Hall Academy, President 2006-2008 and again 2010-2011 and FIFTYForward, 2012-2018, Board chair 2016-2018 (an expanded term).
After retiring from ASC, I accepted a part-time position as Museum Experience Analyst at Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. It is so fulfilling to be able to continue to use the knowledge and skills I have obtained during my life journey with such a dynamic organization.