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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

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Humble Beginnings

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

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"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

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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.

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Finding Solutions

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.

  • Empower families.

  • 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!

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