I have always loved schools. They have provided me comfort, safety, stability, and entries into arenas that I would have never thought possible. The energy in a school climate is like no other, where thousands of decisions are made daily. On its best days, the energy is infectious, slightly addictive, and on its worst days, you feel fatigue that can debilitate you. My life has been dedicated to service in schools, confronting these two dualities on a daily basis. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced various lenses in a school community: a faculty lens; a parent lens; a department chair lens; an admissions lens; a board member lens; a scheduler lens; a committee member lens; and a curriculum designer lens. Most recently, my professional development has led me to explore assessment as well as diversity work in schools.

My first teacher trainer, Dr. Michael Gordon, told me in my “Introduction to Music Education” class, “Teaching is a noble profession.” In experiencing so many school perspectives, I continue to concur. It is honorable work, and yet, stressful.

In honor of my 25th year teaching, I wanted to create an organization that could support teachers, caring for them with the standards that I envision, sometimes exclusively in my imagination. My dream is to have a few days that can create time and space for reflection, community, new friendships, self-care, and special topics of interest from the group. Most importantly, the experience should feel authentic, soulful. I want teachers to eat thoughtful meals, sleep, interact with members of their tribe, and experience a distraction free few days just for themselves.

Are you new to teaching and feeling overwhelmed? Are you a seasoned veteran who feels burnt out? Are you not feeling seen or heard in your current environment? Are you feeling marginalized or underappreciated, or have the negative voices just been louder than the positive ones? Are you tired of professional development that is “canned,” required, or rushed? Consider coming to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Escape for a bit, get inspired. Let the shared spirit of Marigold invigorate your practice and help you to make personal choices that will benefit you and most importantly, the students you serve.