Let me tell you my story...
Ever since I can remember, I've been passionate about serving & connecting with other people. Life is about building relationships. Without relationships, what is the meaning of the work we do? As educators, as artists, as innovators, as leaders - it's all about the connection. That's my favorite part of what I do.
"Success isn't about how much money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives."
- Michelle Obama
My hometown was a small little farming town in the Willamette Valley. A mom who dedicated her career to public service. A dad who hauled trucks. An opportunity to learn the value of indepence, creativity, hard work, & family.
At least some of my love of song & education came from my grandmother. She was always singing songs, watching musicals & loved helping children. I started piano in 1st grade and picked up the clarinet 2 years later. I would improv on the piano in our empty church sanctuary & by 5th grade wrote my 1st composition.
In high school & college, I started to learn more about being an advocate for those whose voices were not as elevated as mine. I completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. I learned about integrated education, about other cultures, about access to rigorous & thought-provoking curriculum. In college, I started working with a young boy with autism. I had no idea what I was doing, so I took an inclusion class. Little did I know, that's where the rest of my career started.
I completed an internship at Willamette Arts & Literacy Camp providing literary, performance & visual arts instruction to exceptional learners. At the same time, I had my first national & international award selections as a composer.
After graduate school, I went to work in rural Alaska as a special education & music teacher. I also managed a successful private studio. I was immersed in a new culture & learned the value of community. I learned that some of our most vulnerable learners need strong advocates who know them & can provide a foundation for self-advocacy.
I proudly serve as the 2021-2022 President & Assembly Representative for the Alaska Council for Exceptional Children, the premiere international organization dedicated to improving the success of exceptional youth.
"I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard...their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated."
- Malala Yousafzai
"If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull & unresponsive, then they thrive & grow to their capabilities."
- Barbara Bush
Photo Credit: Rudy Florez Photography
In the nearly half-decade I spent working as an autism resource education specialist, I saw the lack of access to services & lack of education in inclusive practices. With the expansion of needs in the disability community & families struggling to pay for services, I had to temporarily close my private studio early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
I then married my wonderful husband, a military musician, in the midst of family & personal health struggles. I joined the spoony community. It taught me the need for balancing my own life with those I served.
Becoming a military spouse, I quickly realized the need for consistency in our exceptional military families & the lack of career support for quality educators. I knew I needed to expand my "side hustles" into a foundation that provided for all of the needs that life had come to offer.
Problems I wanted to Solve:
Build space for innovation & creativity.
Shape innovative student thinkers, while supporting their needs.
Fill the gap for multi-exceptional learners.
Build up teacher leaders of the future - no matter the stage in their career.
Provide stability for military families & military spouse educators.
Most importantly, I wanted to grow to be a better educator & a better human.
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
- Maya Angelou
I re-launched, re-branded, & expanded. Aurora Creative Learning Solutions, Inc. & Rodriguez Creative Studios, LLC were born. I can't wait for you to join us on this chapter!