Occupation: I’m a second grade teacher in Washington Depot, at Washington Primary School. I’m the only second grade teacher there. It’s a sweet little school.
Family: I’m engaged to Jesse Birden, and we’re getting married in September. I met him when we were both at Newtown High School and have been dating since. My mom and dad, Michelle and Steve, live here in Newtown, and my brother Matt goes to school at UConn.
Pets: I have Kenzie, a Bouvier, which is a giant breed of dog. She’s big and fluffy, and about 4 years old. Abby is our antique cat. She’s 18 years old, and I’ve had her since I was 5. I bought Jesse a pot belly pig for his birthday, Eleanor, and I think she’ll be moving with us after we get married.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I’ve lived here since I was 5 years old. We moved here in 1996.
What do you like to do in your free time? I love to cook and I’m a reader and a writer. I have a blog for my classroom, mostly for the parents. I love outdoor pursuits, like hiking, jogging, and camping. I like to travel, and I’m taking violin lessons, too.
Do you have a favorite book? My favorite fictional read is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. It’s the perfect mix of imagery and mystery. But since I live in “children world” all the time, I just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my kids, and it was so much fun. I have a different accent for every character. It’s kind of a dark book, but I make it fun. We did the Charlie Bucket Challenge: I taped a chocolate bar to each desk, and who ever went the longest without eating it won a big chocolate bar. A few succumbed pretty quickly. So that’s my other favorite book, right now.
Do you have a favorite travel destination? I feel like every place I go, is my favorite place! We’re going to Bermuda this month. We rented a little cottage. Whenever I go away, I want to explore the place in depth. My other favorite place is Lake Sunapee, N.H. Jesse proposed to me there, so it’s a special place.
What is the best thing about Newtown? I think my heart lives in Newtown. I think it has a sense of comfort and beauty that I really appreciate now. I appreciate this town for all of its sleepy, picturesque places. And so many people I love, live here. Even people I don’t know, I can smile at and feel comforted.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Now that I’m a teacher, so much of my day is devoted to the business of growing good people. I feel like my parents and my teachers raised me to be a compassionate and kind person, and I try to do that with my class.
Do you have a personal philosophy? I try to live passionately, whether it’s my work or play.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? I love to blast music in my car, riding with my brother or friends, or even alone — preferably, with the windows down.