I grew up in the Chicago area, but I call many places home. I received a BA in English at St. Ambrose University, where my study abroad experiences in Ecuador and Peru changed my life.  My experiences abroad inspired me to go on to teach in the Peace Corps, where I served in Turkmenistan from 2008-2010.  I never wanted to be a teacher, but my time in Tstan showed me the power of education, and I returned to the states impassioned to be an educator.  I then received a teaching fellowship from Teachers College, Columbia University, where I lived and taught in the Bronx and uptown Manhattan while earning a Masters degree in teaching.

Joel- Language Arts and Music

After falling in love with the Dominican culture my students showed me in NYC, I then went to teach at an international school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  It was at that point that me and my now wife, Summer, decided to head back to the good ol’ midwest to be closer to our families.  I’ve been in Madison, WI for 7 years, where I took part in opening an alternative school and working in multiple capacities at a project-based learning public-charter school.

I believe that youth can do amazing things when they feel loved, seen and heard in their community, and when they have opportunities to co-create spaces and learning experiences that are meaningful and relevant to them. In my own time, I love spending time with my wife and three sons, Justice (5) Caspian (3.5) and Sonny (3 months).  I am into biking, paddleboarding, crooning on my guitar and going out for ice cream. l am thrilled to be making the move with my family to Costa Rica to live in this beautiful country, to get better at Spanish and to meet the wonderful students and families at TIDE.