Director of Health and Wellness
Know Your Pelicans
What is your official role at Packer and what does it mean? What do you do every day?
Director of Health and Wellness. Every day is very different! I am lucky to spend most of my day doing things I really enjoy. I still teach, so that is always a highlight of the week. I participate in meetings where we discuss student health and wellness, health programming, and health curriculum. I also meet regularly with different team members across the administration and the Health and Wellness team.
Why did you choose to work at Packer?
I was first drawn to Packer because of the mission statement and the focus on educating globally minded students. I love to travel. It is a big part of my identity and what brings joy and wonder to my life. I have stayed and continue to enjoy my job because Packer really sees our students as more than academics. We appreciate and give attention to the whole child. We have the largest Health and Wellness team and the most comprehensive health education program that I have ever encountered in a PreK-12 school. I am proud to work with the H&W team, and our wider adult community, to ensure our amazing and talented kids are also learning to practice balance, embrace joy, and get to know themselves on a deeper level.
What work have you done prior to joining Packer?
I started my career as an Emergency Room nurse. I did quite a bit of national and international travel as a nurse, participating in programs in Ecuador, Kenya, and South Africa. I then got my Masters in Public Health and helped launch the Health Center and Health Education program at an international university in Abu Dhabi. I spent five years in the United Arab Emirates prior to returning to NYC and starting at Packer.
Where did you go to school? What degrees did you earn? What is your highest level of education?
I got my BSN at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE. I got my Masters in Public Health, with and International Focus, at NYU.
What are the strengths of your department?
Where do I begin!?!?!? We have a department of 16 health professionals. We are a well balanced team with a wide range of areas of expertise. We all deeply believe in the work, and want to be as integrated into the community as possible. At Packer, it is not uncommon for us to bring a nurse or mental health professional in the classroom to educate kids. We offer professional development to individuals and groups of faculty on the developmental stages of kids, health topics, and how to handle difficult discussions. We are seen as an integral part of the school community. It helps that every single person on the team is supportive, fun, and highly qualified.
What are your impressions of Packer so far? Our students? Your colleagues?
Packer is a place that really values community. My colleagues are lifelong learners, always curious and coming up with creative ways to bring the passion for their content areas to their students. Our students are talented, thoughtful, and care about making an impact in the world.
Tell us about a specific time you found your job especially rewarding.
I co-lead our Peer Support program. It's a leadership program for 11th/12th graders. They learn group facilitation and mentorship skills that they put into practice by meeting with small groups of 9th graders. By the end of the school year, there are noticeable differences in the confidence and skills of the leaders, and meaningful relationships have been built amongst older and younger students. For me, it's a great way to work with kids on skills that will help them with future endeavors, and to stay in touch with what is going on with our student body.
What is something that most Packer people wouldn't know about you?
I grew up in Nebraska and didn't get on a plane until I was 19 years old! I have now visited, worked in, or lived in 30 countries.
If you had an inspirational fridge magnet, what would it say and why?
Lol. I don't have fridge magnets but I do have computer stickers. Some of my favorites are "Be a kind human" and "Enjoy life".
What do you love to do when you're not working at Packer?
I love to cook, eat, and travel. I have two sons and a husband who are adventurous and curious. We love to go to museums, see broadways shows, walk through different NYC neighborhoods, eat good food, and play frisbee in parks.