Ever since our first child entered kindergarten in Germany at age three in 1987, I have been an active, educational advocate. I was elected to serve on her school's "Elternbeirat" (parent council) twice, even though I was (and still am) a Dutch citizen.
I developed a parent survey in which 97% responded favorably to the idea of making Ecology a mandatory subject in schools. This led to the kindergarten adding it as a component to its curriculum. To this day the school focuses on the environment for one month each year.
Mid 90's:In Las Vegas, NV, I served three years on my children's elementary school's PTA, twice as president. In that capacity I drafted and presented a resolution at the state PTA's conference to make Ecology a mandatory subject in schools.
1997 - 2006: In Greeley, CO, I was president of the local affiliate of the Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented. I served on the school district's Gifted and Talented Advisory Board for nine years. I was an avid and active GT advocate, learning as much as I could by reading many, many books on education.
Chairing the GT Advisory Board's GT-At -Risk subcommittee, I helped develop and analyze a district wide survey on the state of gifted education and wrote the report for it. I also published columns related to gifted education in the local newspaper. I always served on the accountability committees of both my children's schools, and represented my son's high school on our district's accountability committee.
2005: When the new district superintendent implemented Reading First, a lock step schedule, and eliminated recess and even playtime from all its kindergarten classes, I became an opponent of standards and high-stakes testing.