Kentucky Wesleyan College, major – middle school education, mathematics and social studies
Western Kentucky University, master’s degree in school counseling
Indiana Wesleyan University, Rank I in curriculum
Eastern Kentucky University, specialist in education – administration
Husband of 14 years, Brian, is an assistant principal at Owensboro High school.
Children – Brady (age 9) will be in the 4th grade and Brennan (age 6) will be in the 1st grade.
“We enjoy playing and watching sports and hanging out together as a family. My parents, Dave and Becky Linder, live in Owensboro.”
Why did you choose Kentucky Wesleyan?
“Wesleyan is known for producing great educators. I had wanted to be a teacher since I was young, so was a great option for me. Also, it would keep me close to my parents while still offering the college atmosphere. I moved several times as a child and had only lived in Owensboro for five years before graduating from Daviess County High School. I liked it here and wanted a ‘home.’ Also, the Wesleyan campus is beautiful, and it just felt right when I visited.”
What are special memories of your college years?
“As a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, we spent time at Girls Inc., which was a great experience for me. There are so many memories, it is hard to narrow them down. I think what I remember most is the feeling that being on campus still gives me. Whether I drive by, go to a football game, or run through campus, I always smile and think of the great times I had while there.”
What professors were particularly helpful and served as mentors?
“Dr. Yvonne Taylor was chair of the Education Department when I entered Wesleyan. She helped open my eyes to how others might view the world. She taught us that fair and equal were two very different things in education. Dr. Martha O’Bryan came to the College when I was student teaching. Although we were only together for one semester, she taught me very applicable hands-on approaches to use in the classroom. Also, Dr. James Alexander was always there to help me realize ‘why I was in education.’”
You met your husband at Wesleyan. How and where?
“Ha! I really can’t tell you how we met. The great thing about Wesleyan is that everyone kind of knows each other. We were both involved in numerous activities, so it just kind of happened. I know that is not very romantic, but it worked.”
How did your experiences at Wesleyan help prepare you for who you are today?
“Wesleyan prepared me for the real teaching world. Nothing replicates the first day you are on your own with students, but Wesleyan teaches you how to prepare, how to develop confidence and how to handle situations that are not going well. In my field today, I see first-hand how well Wesleyan prepares the teachers of tomorrow.”
Tell us about your career path.
Math at Owensboro Middle School – 5 years
Guidance counselor at Owensboro Middle School – 8 years
College and career counselor for Owensboro Public Schools – 2 years
Director of Owensboro Innovation Academcy – 1 year
”I entered education not because I thought I had knowledge I needed to give the students, but because I wanted to help students be successful. Every position has allowed me to help students in a different manner, but still enabled me to work directly with students on a daily basis.”
Tell us about the Innovation Academy.
We are a public multi-district science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) school and part of the New Tech Network. Four things make us different than a traditional high school:
- Size – we take 100 students per grade.
- All classes are taught through Project Based Learning.
- All students “major” in engineering, biomedical studies or computer science.
- We base all decisions on the pillars of trust, respect and responsibility. Students are actively involved in the decision making of the school. They are also responsible for driving their own learning, what we like to call ‘agency.’”
What is a typical day on the job?
“Ha! There isn’t one. Every day is exciting because I am learning with the students. I always say you know you work in a PBL school when the school secretary is taking phone messages from community partners for our students and the students put things on my ‘to do’ list every day.”
As an educator and resident of Owensboro, how do you think Wesleyan has influenced the city and the region?
“Wesleyan has supplied some of the best teachers in the area, but it is not just that. If you look around at community involvement and community leadership, many are Wesleyan alumni and that makes me proud.”
A favorite way to spend a Friday night?
“Family pool night.”
A favorite vacation spot?
“Walt Disney World.”
Other than the beautiful Kentucky Wesleyan campus, do you have another favorite place in Owensboro?
“As an avid runner, I promise you I have run most of the streets in Owensboro. They all offer something different, and there isn’t another place I would rather live!”