A native of Bucks County, PA, I have lived in the midwest since leaving home for college. I fell in love with the discipline of comparative literature my first semester at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (loved it so much that I completed my B.A, M.A and Ph.D in the program there). At some point along the way, I discovered Nietzsche, then Kafka, then existentialism as a whole (not necessarily in that order)... and things never looked the same to me again.
Since 1999, I have taught courses in literature and religious studies at DePauw University, in Greencastle, IN, where I have crossed paths with so many extraordinary students. These students, and my passion for innovative teaching strategies and public education, inspired me to found and direct The Castle, a nonprofit organization that partners with local public schools to build a culture of high-impact, high-energy, relevant and authentic learning. It’s all about giving kids the space to learn for themselves what their learning is for.
I have a history of academic publishing (for instance, my first book, Reluctant Theologians: Kafka, Celan, Jabes and my collection Subverting Scriptures: Critical Reflections on the Uses of the Bible). But my recent book, Ghost Writer (A Story About Telling a Holocaust Story) marked a happy crossing-over to writing for a general audience. My recent education blog, Reflections from the Field, newest book, The Post-Pandemic Liberal Arts College: A Manifesto for Reinvention (co-authored with Steve Volk) and documentary film project, "North Putnam," that focuses on the intersections between a rural school district and the surrounding community (with award-winning director Joel Fendelman and Dave Eggers as executive producer) are keeping me very busy. As Dave's TED Prize speech was the inspiration for The Castle, it is indeed a humbling coming full-circle to have his involvement on the film, which is slated to come out in Fall 2023.
My other passion (in addition to my husband and two sons) is music. My favorite days involve drumming with my drum troupe, ZooSoul, and playing piano with my band, Black Market Vinyl.