Today we wanted to let you get to know Ricki a bit better. You can find out the basics about her by checking out our About Us page. We tried to make it a little more interesting by having Kellee interview her.
Kellee: What were your favorite books as a child?
Ricki: I grew up loving The Boxcar Children and Babysitters’ Club series. I owned all of the books and read them multiple times. As a teen, I loved Homecoming and The Face on the Milk Carton. I devoured any book that I could get my hands on. Every night, I tried to hide my book under my napkin at the dinner table, but my mom always caught me.
K: What was your favorite hobby when you were a kid (other than reading)?
R: I loved playing school with my sister and cooking in my Easy-Bake oven. I was a crafty kid. You could find me singing as I walked around the house, noodle necklaces swinging from my neck, or concentrating on my bead loom, tuned out from the world.
K: When did you know you were going to be a teacher?
R: When I was in second grade, I declared I was going to become a second grade teacher. The next year, I realized third grade was cooler than second grade, and every year, I bumped the age level.
Until my sophomore year of college, I always thought I would become a math teacher. I hated the required reading in my high school English classes and loved my AP Calculus course. After a few great English professors, I quickly changed my mind.
K: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
R: I am Native American. Being a minority (and one who doesn’t look like a minority) had a strong impact on my education as a child. I enjoy teaching in diverse settings because I feel that I can identify with many of the emotions the students’ experience.
K: What is your favorite animal? Color? Food?
R: I have a frog pond in my backyard with dozens of tadpoles. I love reading on a chair beside them. Is that weird? I also talk to my woodchuck named Chuck and his wife, Chuckina. Today, my neighbor caught me on my hands and knees, peering into the hole, talking to the woodchuck. It was awkward.
My favorite color is purple. My students realized I wear a lot of purple this year, so they started printing their essays in purple ink.
I am a huge foodie. I spend hours watching Food Network and would probably be a culinary instructor if I wasn’t a school teacher. I love making homemade pasta (It’s really easy if you haven’t tried it!).
K: What is your favorite genre of books?
R: I’ll read anything! My favorite books are those that teach me something new. I always love a great historical fiction because I am bound to learn something knew, but really–I will read anything.
K: What is your favorite movie?
R: I actually don’t enjoy movies (insert gasp here). I can’t watch them without thinking about the good book I am missing. My husband loves movies, and during most of those that we rent, I pull out a book halfway through the movie. As long as we are spending time together, we don’t have to be entertained by the same thing, right?
K: Next to reading, what are your hobbies now?
R: I love to paint, cook, and garden. We bought a house about a year ago, so I have been relearning plants, which were much more familiar to me as a child. Really, I spend almost all of my time reading books or searching the internet, trying to learn something new. I am a total nerd.
K: You are pursuing your PhD. Tell us about the program you were accepted into.
R: I was just accepted to the University of Connecticut’s Curriculum and Instruction program with a concentration in Secondary English Education. I hope to be both a researcher and an advisor to pre-service English teachers. I plan to focus my research primarily in young adult literature, with possible connections to urban education and minority students, particularly Native Americans. I proposed and implemented a Young Adult Literature elective in my school, and I think it would be really neat to develop similar reading programs in other school systems. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I have the best advisor in the world, Dr. Wendy Glenn. 🙂
K: If you could have dinner with one author (dead or alive) who would you pick?
R: I think this is the most difficult question anyone has ever asked me! If I had to pick–Sherman Alexie. He is so wildly funny and entertaining. I have a feeling I would snort my drink by accident.
K: Why did you decide that this was the right time to jump into blogging?
R: I really loved working with you [Kellee] on the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award committee. When you asked me to join you on a new blog, it seemed like a no-brainer because your are so fun, knowledgeable, and hard-working. I am excited to try something new. Plus, we are both control freaks who obsess about things, so why not pair us together?
K: Tell us about your family.
R: I met my husband ten years ago and we started dating four years later. We’ve been married for two years. He is an engineer, and our personalities are very different, but we are both curious people, so I think that makes us a great match. My father and brother are physicians, my mother is a nurse, and my sister works for Google, so really–I am a bit unique in my field of interest, family-wise. I am expecting my first child in December, and I can’t wait to meet my little reader.
Tomorrow, join us for more information about how to navigate Unleashing Readers and we really appreciate you stopping by today!