Sandra is a Board Certified Teacher in Literacy, Wisconsin Middle School Teacher of the Year and has won the Hilton Teacher Trek Award. Author James Patterson’s Foundation acknowledged Sandra’s passion for spreading an excitement of books in effective and original ways with a PageTurner Award.
Her mission is to provide a quality education for all. At Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin she teaches literacy intervention classes for high-needs students reading below grade level, including immigrants, English language learners, students living in poverty, homelessness or foster care, and students with disabilities. She devised ‘Breakfast with Books’, a highly-successful before-school programme, targeting the reading level of at-risk students by involving them in literacy activities while enjoying a nutritious breakfast.
Sandra’s teaching approach is focused on getting children to experience reading in new, immersive ways. Books are brought to creative life both inside and outside the classroom by incorporating the arts (visual art, music, technology, readers’ theatre). For example, students of world literature are given reading lists as ‘boarding passes’, reading journals as ‘passports’, and a ‘departure lounge’ is created with in-flight magazines and international newspapers. Sandra has been sharing teaching best practices on regional, state, national, and international levels.
She encourages engagement with the local community and the wider world by inviting a number of artists and authors into her classes and by building relationships with schools abroad.