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Marni didn't plan to become a teacher, but maybe there was no way she could resist it. Her mom was a first-grade teacher and her dad was a physical education teacher and coach. In the early 1900s, her paternal grandmother had her own one-room school. "I guess I have teaching in my genes. . . Once I student-taught, it seemed like the way to go. I got a great job right out of college and I left only when storytelling, with a hook, dragged me from my classroom stage to a number of new venues," she says.
Marni is currently a visiting teacher at Southern Connecticut State, where she hopes to turn teachers on to storytelling. "When we tell our stories, we learn to honor our differences. The cliques those differences engender begin to disappear. It's very profound."
She also works with the Lincoln center model for arts in education. "I educate students and their teachers about the work of a visiting storyteller, theater group, or dancer." Every year, Marni offers a storytelling camp for teens and adults at Pyramid Life Center, a retreat in the Adirondack Mountains. She is also a self-professed "conference junkie." "I love listening to the authors of the professional books I read [speak] about teaching and storytelling."
Her own approach to professional development is that "all learning is about experience. We occasionally take in what someone tells us. But most authentic learning, the kind that sticks, stems from some 'ouch' or 'wow,' some thrill, disappointment, or discovery. So I offer both kids and teachers experiences, then I ask: 'So, what did you notice? What surprised you? What do you know now?'"
Marni contributes regularly to storytelling journals and newsletters, Storytelling Magazine, and Museletter.
In her free time, she enjoys gardening and continues to tell stories and write both for pleasure and work. She is married and has a son.