Hi, I’m Kara! I am an experienced educator and I’m ready to work for every student in Clarke County. I am ready to listen, and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as we work together to improve our schools.
I am a mother, an educator, a life-long learner. I have 2 boys who are currently at Chase Street Elementary School. My husband and I first came to Athens in 2002, when I began graduate school in Cognitive/Experimental Psychology. After I finished my Ph.D. in 2007, my husband and I moved to Boston for three years. We moved back to the Athens area in 2010 and lived in Oconee County. In 2014, shortly before our older son started kindergarten, we moved back into Clarke County so that both of our children could attend Clarke County Schools, and we have made Athens our home ever since.
I have been a full-time lecturer in the Psychology Department at UGA since 2012, teaching a variety of courses, primarily focused on Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. You can download my CV here to learn more about my work. Cognitive Psychology is the study of how people think and includes perception, attention, memory, problem-solving, reasoning, and decision-making, among others. Thus, I spend a lot time thinking about how people think and learn and how to apply these principles to my teaching. It is important to me that students not only learn material, but that they also retain it so that they can use their newfound knowledge down the road. I also challenge them to critically evaluate information, both new information and previously held beliefs about their own cognition, including memory, cognitive biases and their ability to safely text and drive.
I have been the co-chair of the Local School Governance Team (LSGT) at Chase Street Elementary School since its inception in late 2016 and have been a member of the Parent-teacher organization (PTO) since my older son started kindergarten in 2014. My experience on the LSGT has allowed me to learn about how the school system works through trainings on district operations, Human Resources, curriculum and instruction, as well as setting goals and creating school improvement plans. Being on the LSGT and the PTO has strengthened my connection with the teachers and administrators of Chase St. and the other parents and community members supporting our schools.
As an educator, a cognitive psychologist, a trained researcher who has studied learning-related changes in the brain, and a question-asker, I am in a unique position to be able to sift through the myriad educational policy papers and peer-reviewed research studies, to determine whether there is good evidence for any big changes that are proposed, so we can help our students, and not waste money! I believe strongly in public schools, and I am committed to the Clarke County School District. I will advocate for all of the children in the district. An educated community benefits all of us.
We won’t improve learning by just doing more of the same, but we also have to be smart about the changes we implement. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with you to make sure that all children in our district are successful.