iLEAD Schools Summer Self Care

Maker Learning Network Staff Share Summer Self-Care Plans, Tips

If you feel like you’re hearing more about self-care than ever before, you’re right. It’s a popular topic. According to Google Trends, the number of searches for “self-care” has more than doubled since 2015. Educators are often focused on taking care of others, so in order to be ready to take care of learners and others this fall, here is what Maker Learning Network facilitators and leaders are doing this summer for self-care:

Wendy Graffam of iLEAD Lancaster has been changing her eating habits, meditating and taking on home improvement projects. She is currently redesigning her front lawn and turning it into a desert landscape.

Wendy Graffam desert landscape

Jeanette Weiss at iLEAD Online is taking The Science of Well-Being by Yale University through Coursera this summer. She said the course outlines different things to do each week to improve happiness. “I am working this summer so not too much time for too many activities,” Weiss said. “I will try to make it to the beach this summer.”

Michele Bowes headshotiLEAD English Learner Director Michele Bowes hopes to find time to “sharpen the saw” and reminds others to do the same. According to Bowes, she saw a lot of burnout during the pandemic. “I’m hoping everyone takes some well-deserved time away from their devices,” Bowes said. “We can do our best for others only when we care for ourselves.”

Kaitlin Tuxhorn headshotiLEAD Student Support Coordinator Kaitlin Tuxhorn is taking a 12-hour road trip to visit her husband’s family.

Natalie Teichmann headshotNatalie Teichmann of iLEAD Online is focusing on yoga and meditation. She said she is also planning to go to the beach for surfing and boogie boarding.


Holly PierceHolly Pierce of Colorado SKIES Academy has been getting her daughter ready for college at DePaul University and enjoying another season of baseball with her son. Her family also took a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
Holly Pierce family

iLEAD Antelope Valley facilitator Dr. Shayna Markwongark intends to do a lot of research and reading this summer. She has chosen 10 books geared toward improving herself both professionally and personally. Her first read is Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. In addition to the reading, Markwongark is focusing on her physical well-being.

Jeanette Chadwick headshot

“So in order for me to be my best personal self mentally and emotionally, my physical body needs to be aligned too,” Markwongark said. “After all, if I am centered, calm and effective, then so will those I am looking to inspire in and outside of the classroom.”

Jeanette Chadwick of Empower Generations is taking daily walks, weekly hikes, and returning to her personal art projects.

Jeanette Chadwick art projects with turtle

Justin Rodriguez headshotJustin Rodriguez of Little iLEADers has diverse self-care plans, including 20-minute walks on a regular basis, yoga and reading Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins.

Jessica Weiss headshotJessica Weiss of WorldOver International School will be kayaking and taking long walks with her dog, which she says brings her peace each day. “It also gives me the chance to work on my photography,” she adds. She’s also reading David Sedaris’ Theft By Finding, which she says “brings plenty of laughter right now.”

Ingrid Moon headshotiLEAD Santa Clarita (SCVi) Facilitator Ingrid Moon is training for a cross-fit competition in Australia. Moon qualified to compete last February. Her training includes going to the gym at least three times per week. Additionally, when not home, Moon will be camping with friends and family in Wrightwood, California. She will also be house-sitting/dog-sitting for her mom in Boise, Idaho. Finally, Moon is starting to write a novel. Although she doesn’t have it all planned out yet, she said most certainly it will be science fiction, dystopian and/or addressing her existential climate anxiety.

Kristan Van Houten headshotMaker Learning Network’s Outreach Coordinator Kristan Van Houten is traveling 4,200 miles across a span of 12 days to visit the MLN network schools, co-workers, friends and family after being apart due to the pandemic. Joining her will be her daughters, son and mom. Her husband will join the family in California for a few days as well. Van Houten will be traveling from Minnesota to Idaho, California, Nevada, Colorado and Kansas. Her audiobooks for the trip were chosen by her children and include Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices by Mitali Perkins, Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, & Identity by Winona Guo, Alone: Days With Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel and Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris. Her children are excited to visit cousins, while Van Houten is most excited to see her grandmother, who has been alone in a care facility since the pandemic began.

Yoonhee Aprahamian headshotSCVi Upper School Facilitator Yoonhee Aprahamian is heading to South Korea to visit her parents, whom she hasn’t seen since before the pandemic.

WorldOver’s Elizabeth Rydall is honing her skills in applied improvisation by taking a couple of weekly classes. She is also working on a series of paintings about what we see, what we think we see and what we don’t see.

Elizabeth Rydall art

Lucy Howlett headshotColorado SKIES Academy facilitator Lucy Howlett will climb one of the Colorado 14ers this summer with her family. She’s also reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown.

Jody Kirby headshotJody Kirby, SCVi Education Specialist, is cleaning out her environment. This includes everything from her closet to her social media accounts. “I am seeing what fits, what sparks joy, what to keep and what to cut out of my life in order to have more peace and positivity around me. It’s a journey,” Kirby said.

Erika Cedeno headshotSCVi Spanish Facilitator Erika Cedeño is training for another Iron Man Competition. She’s also walking her dog daily, doing yoga and meditation, going to the beach and watching TV with her family.

Office Manager Christy Monroe of iLEAD Lancaster is not vacationing this year as she prepares to move out of her house of the last 10 years. She said her self-care will include rest when needed and making sure she bends her knees while lifting moving boxes. Thankfully she also plans to attend many barbecues and pool gatherings with her family.

Jennifer Motley headshotTechnical Applications and CARE Team member Jennifer Motley of Colorado SKIES Academy is taking time for herself by listening to what her body and brain need. She has been juggling her job and being a full-time college student, so she is taking time to simply unplug.

Wendy Ruiz headshotWendy Ruiz, iLEAD Director of Early Childhood Education Programs, is spending a few days with family in Big Bear.

Meenal Sharma headshotiLEAD Exploration’s Meenal Sharma started to paint mandalas and flowers on glassware as gifts for friends and family last June, and she said she is getting back to painting on wineglasses and coffee mugs this summer.

Meenal Sharma art on glasses and mugs

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