Our Next Steps Conference began at ETS (Educational Testing Service) in New Jersey. I was so excited to connect with my NSTOY family, but sad that this would be our last adventure together. During our time in New Jersey, we talked about "Where Do We Grow From Here?" It was a reflective time for all of us to think about our new learning from the past 9 months and how we can move forward in our own states. I cannot imagine sharing this journey with another group of educators. They have encouraged to stretch myself and inspired me to be a better advocate for the teaching profession.

Erika (Kentucky) and Kristin (Hawaii) in the sculpture gardens. Even on a rainy night it was beautiful!

Molly (Iowa), Pam (Georgia), Danielle (New Jersey) and Erika (Kentucky) with me at our last dinner in New Jersey.
During our time in New York City, we were invited to NBC's Teacher Town Hall where we listened to Brian Williams moderate a conversation about the current state and future of education. Our next stop was Broadway to see the show Wicked! During our last day in the city, we created a video for Pearson titled Why I Teach. It was difficult to create words to describe my passion for this profession in only ninety seconds! This trip was the perfect way to culminate a year of reflection, inspiration and friendship.

The following words from the show Wicked truly capture my feelings about this journey and my TOY family.
So let me say before we partSo much of meIs made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...