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Debbie has been a national consultant since 2000, but still has those "back to school" dreams in the fall. After playing school in the basement of her childhood home in Lititz, Pennsylvania, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Millersville University and Temple University and spent the next four decades as an educator. She's worked as a classroom teacher, migrant education teacher, Title I reading teacher, and literacy coach in Pre-K through grade 10 in diverse public school settings. Her love of teaching stems from her love of learning. "I have always loved learning. Becoming a teacher was a way I could share that love of learning with children and eventually, with adults."
A big part of her learning is listening to teachers and their professional development needs. "When I work with teachers, I try to understand their needs by finding out what they know and listening to their questions. Then I begin where they are and work with them to help them take the next steps toward where they (and/or their school systems) want (them) to be. I believe in professional reading and professional learning communities, and support teachers in their quest to best meet the needs of all students in their classrooms."
Debbie's ideas for her books also come from her work with teachers. She listens for frequently asked questions, patterns, teachers' needs, and keeps a writer's notebook to collect ideas, thoughts, and notes. "Often, the old joke comes to mind: 'How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.' That's how I write—bit by bit, on planes, in hotel rooms, in my office on a rare day. Teachers' questions and comments spur me on through my daily, ongoing work in classrooms, which sustains my craft."
Debbie's family has changed and grown in recent years. Her son, Jon, and daughter, Jessica, are both married, and she now has a granddaughter, Chloe, with another on the way. Debbie's husband, Tom, passed away in 2012.