Ms. Maslanka believes that investing in her students’ human potential is the most rewarding part of teaching. Did you know she loves alpacas, and volunteers at a ranch during shearing season?
Impacting Students I love teaching how to have civil conversations, because I believe it is key to healthy people, organizations, and societies. Character education is my core passion. I teach skills rigorously, but in reality, I have little interest in teaching my students to be skillful and successful if I can't inspire them to use those skills to make the world a better place. Excellence has to be placed in the service of empathy, or it isn't really excellence at all.
Lifelong Learner My diversity training has expanded my view of American History and has shifted the lens from which I teach it. I'm embracing joyfulness and this year, I plan to find a more joyful and heart-centered way to do 'diversity' work--one that is about celebrating our cultures, beliefs, and differences and less about calling people out.
Favorite Teaching Moment Seeing the eighth grade Capstone Project finally come to fruition. It was a project I worked on and advocated for several years before we made it happen, and, in it, I saw young people realize how much power they really have to change their world. I don't think anything is as important as helping them understand that they hold the power--right now--to shape the world they will bring their own children into.
Favorite Historical Event The Civil Rights Movement, of course! Over the years I have taught and learned about The Civil Rights Movement, I have come to see it as the most important narrative in American history and I've broadened my understanding of what it means. It didn't begin in the 50's and it didn't end in the 60's. The civil rights movement stretches from the 18th century to today, and continuing expansion of equity is, to me, America's purpose and point.
Why I Love Teaching I love teaching because every day I feel like I'm doing something real to make our world a better place. My "bottom line" isn't money, it's human potential, and that is the real treasure.
Favorite Thing About Working at Graland The quality of my colleagues both as professionals and as people impresses me every day. I have taught for fifteen years and worked in the business world for fifteen years before that. No workforce compares to Graland Faculty.
Life Goals Due to my upbringing and heritage, I am fascinated with both Scandinavia and the Baltics. I'm looking forward to spending time in Sweden this summer and hope it is only the beginning of exploring those parts of the world.
Other than Graland, I Support Black Lives Matter, The Nature Conservancy, Charitywater.org, and The UN Sustainable Development Goals
Joined Graland in... 2010
Also Known As ... SEED Leader, Hiring Committee Member, Diversity and Equity Cohort Member
Hometown Tulsa, Oklahoma
Education BS in English education from Northeastern State University MA in literature from Middlebury College
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.