a rebirth of the one-room schoolhouse!
HI! I'm Mara—a lifelong educator, just like you!
My journey with microschool building is a fascinating one! I'd love to share some highlights.
I started off as a K-5 teacher in one of my hometown’s magnet school systems. That meant we enrolled kids through a lottery in order to support desegregation. I had the rare opportunity to serve a truly diverse set of learners, from all types of backgrounds. That school began as a traditional academy—think classic instruction, discipline, and uniforms. But in a few years we were approached by families in the community to change our focus to arts-integration. I was fortunate to be part of the team who transformed our school into a vibrant, creative learning community where kids couldn’t wait to come to school.
Yet I intuitively knew that something was wrong…
Testing and assessments were on the rise. No Child Left Behind had been announced. And the 100% targets for proficiency made me laugh when I thought about the audacity of measuring every child against the same standard.
So I went back to the drawing board—back to graduate school where I earned a doctorate in instructional technology. I took a job training teachers and wrote grants that brought arts and technology into rural schools in my area. And finally I landed a job as an administrator, supporting new teachers, technology integration, data and assessment, and federal programs. I went back to school one more time and earned my superintendent's letter of eligibility, which prepared me to run a school district.
Just as soon as I finished my training, that job was cut. I was devastated.
it was then that I really began to question my path...
I began to question the system, why it worked the way it did, and why I had gotten all of that education to be tossed aside so easily.
As I read, I began to find answers. But more importantly, I began to learn about all of the alternatives forms of education, teaching and learning out there. And as I learned my excitement grew! As I learned about small schools using models such as Montessori, Waldorf, or Reggio Emelia, I started to dream about the possibility of new kinds of schools that didn't even exist yet.
And about the same time, I began to have a reoccurring dream at night—it was about one-room schools that were modern, innovative, and joy-filled spaces.
so I decided to dedicate myself to bringing that dream to life, and Microschool Builders was born!
If you are on a similar path—of wondering how you can use all that you have learned as a teacher to transform the way we do education, I want to talk with you!