My dad was a national park ranger, and I grew up living in national parks. This was an idyllic existence which instilled in me an early and lasting appreciation for the natural world. Animals played a big role in my childhood and led to my first, extremely fun, career as a zookeeper. I met my husband, John Chapo, at the zoo and he continues to work there as the Zoo Director. I left zookeeping in 1991 to be a stay at home mom for, eventually, 3 boys. They all attended Lincoln Public Schools and, at ages 24, 25, and 26 (yes, three kids in 28 months!), provide a good testimonial to the quality of education provided in this district. I started teaching when our youngest son started first grade. I was the Science Specialist at Fredstrom Elementary for 3 years, teaching grades K-6, and then moved to North Star when we opened in 2003. My primary assignment is grade 10 Biology, and more than 3200 students have passed my Biology class, either during the school year or at summer school.
North Star has 14 acres of wetlands on our campus, which provide me with an unparalleled opportunity to get kids outside and see real examples of the stuff they are studying in Biology. I think this makes the curriculum more fun, messy, and relevant. Kids should leave my classroom much more aware of their natural environment and how it works. North Star and I have been fortunate to receive an incredible level of support and teaching assistance from UNL, the Lower Plate South NRD, the Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership, EPSCoR, and many, many other individuals and organizations in Lincoln who believe in science education and in the work we do here.