In the late 1980s, my husband sought land for a vineyard nearby; I could have continued teaching while he gradually shifted careers. In 1990, realizing that corn pesticide drift in Illinois precluded growing good wine grapes here, that dream morphed into owning vineyard in Napa.
Wanting to support him but dreading leaving a teaching job I still loved, I began to work on building an educational consulting business on top of my day job. I'd already done some professional development work at my school and through the Center for Problem-Based Learning at IMSA [Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy].
It's always hard to be a "prophet in your own land," but soon I was working with other schools for Problem-Based Learning. I spoke at conferences as a way to attract clients.
In 2008, I began working for the state of Illinois. The Illinois Innovation Talent Project paired schools with educators like me and government agencies or private companies as their clients. The school groups worked problems for them the way my problem-based learning classes worked for their clients. I wrote many of the professional development materials and coached multiple schools over four years during both rounds of the project.
In 2012, I began work for TeacherMatch, a technology company seeking to streamline and improve the hiring and onboarding of new teachers. In addition to writing test questions for the screening tool, I created the professional development materials for candidates to build on their strengths and address their weakness. When PeopleAdmin bought TeacherMatch, I collaborated on their behavior-based interview guide for potential principals as well as some "crosswalks" to show commonalities between their framework for teaching and state frameworks.