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  • Returning Home


    Over the past six weeks, I've been away more than I've been in Virginia. My constant companion has been my camera, although for these past three days Jill was with me too.

    So what have the last six weeks brought? Here's a partial list:

    • A driving trip to North Carolina and an overnight train ride to Charleston (both for Amtrak).

    • A week teaching at the University of South Carolina.

    • An overnight trip to Eastern Pennsylvania, combined with day shoots in Raleigh, Maryland, and D.C. for another client.

    • A nine-day Northeast trip that included a week in Maine at a transformational photography workshop.

    • Another week driving from Jackson, Miss., to Louisville, Ky., in part to report a freelance magazine feature and in part for a small break.

    When the plane touched down this afternoon at Dulles, I saw one last photo opportunity as I rode down the escalator to baggage claim. In many ways, this photo is the end of a story that I'll be sharing over the coming weeks. It's just one of many stories I can't wait to tell.

    #ontheroad #travel #photographer #photography #storytelling #business #writing #northcarolina #southcarolina #pennsylvania #maryland #dc #newyork #massachusetts #newhampshire #maine #mississippi #tennessee #kentucky #summertravel #freelancer #gratitude #grateful

  • Randoms on Travel

    Last week, I traveled to Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania in a winding run that included shooting a two-day corporate retreat, a luncheon and performance for 120 donors, and collateral that will be used in the marketing of a chain of independent schools.

    At some point each day, I was asked what I enjoy photographing the most. My answer is almost always the same: “I like to shoot what I see.” That’s not meant to be flip. To me, the type of shoot doesn’t matter because I learn something new every time I pick up a camera. As long as I can capture images that are interesting, engaging, and tell a story, that’s a bonus.

    Here are some “bonus” images that I’ve captured over the past 10 days. Most aren’t directly related to the business shoots, but things I saw during those in between moments you get while traveling. Hope you enjoy them.

  • Photo on Magazine Cover

    Last month, I traveled to Winchester, Va., to take photos of fifth-grade students participating in AMPed UP! (Accelerated Math Progressions for Under Represented Potential) at Daniel Morgan Intermediate School. The photos were used on the cover of American School Board Journal as well as inside the magazine to illustrate a story recognizing the district for its efforts to improve the number of minority students in elementary school advanced math classes.

    You can read the story, titled "The Hard Work of Equity," here.

  • 'Public Domain' Performance

    Eight students from the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy’s advanced choir performed Wednesday at the Library of Congress as part of the Copyright Matters event series. The event, “The Public Domain: Celebrating the Lifecycle of Copyright,” focused on works that are entering the public domain this year. The MSA choir performed “Charleston” — one of the songs entering the public domain in 2019 — at the start of the event and then went on a brief tour of the library before returning to school.

  • Nutcracker Promos

    As part of my work with Metropolitan School of the Arts, I took this series of photos to promote the annual production of "The Nutcracker," which will be held Dec. 8-9 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Arts Center in Alexandria.

    The studio also will present "Nutcracker in a Nutshell," a 40-minute abridged version of ballet for young audiences, on Sunday, Nov. 25 at MSA's Black Box Theater. Tickets for the 1 p.m. Nutshell show are sold out, and limited seats remain for the 2:30 and 4:30 performances.

    To get your seats for all performances, got to To see more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • Academy Open House/Master Classes

    Singer-actress Nova Payton and Melissa Rector of the Koresh Dance Company taught free master classes as part of an open house Monday for the Academy at Metropolitan School of the Arts The classes, held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., were open to prospective students as well as youth who currently attend the school.

    Payton, a Washington, D.C., native who has appeared in 3 Mo’ Divas, on television, and in numerous regional theatre productions and concerts across the U.S. and around the world, coached and worked with several current Academy students who performed their audition songs in front of an audience. Rector, the artistic director for the Koresh Youth Ensemble in Philadelphia, frequently travels around the country to perform, teach, and set choreography for students. Her unique style blends modern jazz and Luigi technique.

    For more information, contact To see more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • Playing Catch Up

    "When it rains, it really pours... "

    Two weeks ago: Headshots for the MSA Academy, Nutcracker promo shoot, photography for Motion X Dance DC, corporate headshots and a two-plus day retreat on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border.

    Last week: Washington-Indianapolis game, three-day trip to Texas for a magazine feature, day-long conference photography in DC, engagement party for Nick and Conner in NC.

    This week: Writing, editing and catching up.

    Oh my. Feeling blessed.

  • Five Years Online

    This weekend marks 5 years since I started this website and my Facebook page to share my photos and writing. The goal — then and now — was to tell stories through words and images while building a business that focuses on creative expression. Thanks to all who have supported this journey. Tell your friends to join in, and enjoy the work!

  • Charlotte's Web at Boston Theatre

    For the second time this year, I was fortunate to go to Boston to shoot a show at the Wheelock Family Theatre, a small regional Equity house on the campus of Wheelock College. Last Wednesday and Thursday, the cast of “Charlotte’s Web” conducted their final two dress rehearsals before opening on Friday night.

    As with many shows that focus on kids, the children in the cast were split into two companies, with the adults doing all the performances. I especially appreciated Wheelock’s total sense of inclusion in casting both the children and the adults. It gave this classic children’s story an even greater sense of universality.

    Also fascinating was the aerial silk choreography, which used fabric suspended from the ceiling to transport Charlotte (played by Caroline Lawton) around her web as she writes various words about Wilbur the pig (Michael Keita Hisamoto). It really is something to see.

    “Charlotte’s Web” runs through May 14. For tickets and information on the theatre, its classes and its mission, visit

    For more photos from the show, go to my Facebook album here.

  • Football Story Wins AM&P Award

    "Comeback Season," a freelance story for American School Board Journal, received a Silver Award for Feature Writing in the Association Media & Publishing's 2016 EXCEL Awards competition last night. My friend and former co-worker, Kathleen Vail, also received a Silver for her piece, "Mission: Space."

    The awards, handed out during a banquet at AM&P's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., were in the 20,000 to 50,000 category. To read the story, go here.

  • Untapped Archives #3: Ballet

    Each summer, just before students return to school, Metropolitan School of the Arts holds a two-week ballet intensive camp for elementary to high school age kids. From basic technique to partnering on pointe, the students become immersed in the world of ballet in an age- and talent-appropriate setting.

    These photos were taken at the Alexandria studio during one of the sessions in late August. They make up the third installment of "Untapped Archives." Next up: Toy Stories, the Sunday shows.

    For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.

  • Half of a Historic Cover Shoot

    Now this was an interesting project.

    For several years, I was on the board of directors for Association Media & Publishing, a national organization that serves writers, editors, designers, and other online/print professionals in the member and trade association space.  AM&P, as it is known, has a bimonthly print magazine (called Signature) that focuses on related trends in the field.

    While on the board, one of my tasks was working with editorial director Carla Kalogeridis to develop content and structure for the recently rebranded and rapidly growing magazine, which does an excellent job on a shoestring budget. Although I have not been as involved with AM&P since leaving the board and starting my freelance career, Carla and I have continued to talk and email back and forth on occasion.

    Several months ago, Carla emailed me with a question: Would I be interested in helping to shoot a cover photo for Signature?

    The idea was intriguing for a number of reasons. First, Signature has never had people on its cover. Second, even several years removed from the board, I knew what the likely editorial budget was, and it wasn’t much. And finally, what did Carla mean when she said “helping”?

    Carla explained that she wanted to put people on the cover because PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, had acquired a business-to-business media company (Summit Media Group) that specialized in custom digital media, magazines, and newsletters. In the association world, this was a very bold move.

    All is well and good, except that the management teams of the two groups were in Northern Virginia and Chicago. They weren’t scheduled to be in the same place before Carla’s deadline, and Signature’s budget would not allow us to get them together.

    So, Carla asked, would I be willing to take pictures of the PMMI staff at its Reston office, while another photographer handled the Chicago group? And, given my association with AM&P, would I do it for a lower-than-usual rate?

    The answer to both questions was yes, and what you see at the top of this page is the result. Before the shoots, we had a conference call between Bates Creative (the magazine’s designers) and Kyle Bethea, PMMI’s Chicago-based photographer. We agreed to take several individual portraits of the different professionals in a variety of poses (facing one way, facing another, smiling, not smiling). Bates then cut the photos out individually and arranged them into the cover you see.

    After seeing the final result (and the magazine), I’m glad to have taken part in the project. As Carla writes at the end of her “Under the Covers” column explaining the execution of the concept: “Don’t shy away from something just because it seems too complicated and unlikely to work out. Sometimes, just taking a few steps in the right direction reveals a path you never knew existed.”

    Sounds like a good mission statement for a freelancer, doesn’t it?

    To see the issue of Signature, as well as other photos that accompanied Carla’s cover story, go here.

  • How My Website is Woven

    Having your own website is in many respects like taking care of a pet, a hybrid dog-cat-goldfish no less.

    Often it’s very active and dynamic (think dog), with changes occurring on a daily (if not more) basis. At times, though, it’s easy to let things just sit (sort of like the cat) or allow updates to float around in cyberspace (think fish).

    Animal metaphors aside, the past three to four months have been so hectic that I haven’t paid as much attention to my site as much as I’d like or need to, considering it is the portal into my mind and my business. Between freelance assignments, photo gigs, and business/family travel, I’ve let it sit for too long.

    That's not a complaint, just a fact. So I’ve taken some time over the past few days to make a slew of updates, and I hope never to get this far behind again.

    Here’s what you’ll see: A revised homepage, fully up-to-date blog, new freelance articles, a new “Columns” page, and additions to the “Performances,” “Events,” and “Visual Storytelling” sections. I still have new headshots to post as well.

    I hope you like the tweaks and changes. Take a minute to peruse and let me know what you think. All comments and suggestions welcome…

  • Stories Published in National Magazines

    Life as a freelance writer has its challenges, but the diversity of topics you get to work on is often fascinating.

    Since March, I’ve had six different pieces published by national organizations, and more are coming soon. Of those already available, five of the six are for two education associations (ASCD and the National School Boards Association), while the sixth is a piece written for the Minority Corporate Council Association (MCCA). 

    Even the MCCA story has an education component. Titled The Future of the Legal Profession and published this week, it focuses on the winners of the organization’s LMJ Scholarship. The winner who starts off the story,  Jiali “Keli” Huang, has a fascinating tale to tell.

    Here is a list of what has been published recently. (Click on the link to access or download any of the pieces, unless otherwise noted.)

    • Early Start on STEM (May-June 2015): Early colleges take on many guises and forms, ranging from separate campuses that serve small groups of students in a targeted manner to schoolwide initiatives that offer college-level courses to all eligible students. Students at the STEM Early College, a partnership between North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools and A&T that opened in 2012, will graduate from high school with up to 60 hours of college credit in their chosen field.
    • Electronic School: Tech Visits (March-April 2015): Any school leader knows that ongoing success is contingent on factors that go beyond who lives and works in your community. When your technology programs are versatile enough to be replicated in other districts, that’s even better.
    • Principal Leadership: Focus on Professional Development (Winter 2015): The days of leadership by decree are gone, as this series of stories written for ASCD's quarterly "Policy Priorities" newsletter shows. Today, successful principals collaborate, communicate, and share responsibility with their teachers and staff. They understand the job has evolved to one that puts instructional leadership first, even when the mundane, though equally important, day-to-day administrative demands threaten to interfere.

    The next two articles, written for ASCD’s “Education Update,” point you to a landing page where you can read a short sample of the article. Entire issues are available for purchase and download.

    • The Final Push Before Summer (May 2015): What schools can do between the end of standardized testing and the ringing of the last bell to set the stage for student success in the next year and beyond.
    • Reaching Them Early On (March 2015): Schools and cities are scrambling to provide early intervention as infants and toddlers suffer from the highest rates of poverty in the nation.

    Meanwhile, as part of my work for AASA’s 150th anniversary issue that was published in February, I’ve also written up and edited transcripts of interviews conducted with 16 top education leaders. The interviews, which are being archived and likely will be used online, provide a great deal of insight into the organization, its advocacy efforts over the years, and its victories and struggles.

    What is fantastic about this is that it gives readers an opportunity to see the full interviews, which had a lot of fascinating tidbits and insight that did not make it into the six features I wrote for the organization. (You can read individual stories or all six here on my website.) 

    The interviews include AASA’s current and former executive directors (Daniel DomenechPaul Houston) key former staff (Bruce HunterGary MarxFenwick English), board members who made a dramatic impact (June GablerSarah JeromeEugene White), D.C. area education leaders (Anne Bryant/Thomas ShannonGene CarterJack Jennings), state association leaders (Ozzie RoseWalt Whitfield), and longtime AASA members (Burke RoysterPeter Corona).

    Access the individual interviews by clicking on the person’s name, or see the entire set in one document here.

    Thanks for reading, and if you know anyone who’s in the market for a good writer, let me know. Right now, I don’t have much to work on, and as you can see, I like to stay busy.

  • Photos of Two Conferences Up

    Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was the opening keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC), a nonprofit employer association comprised of more than 300 major corporations. I was hired by EEAC to shoot the event.

    The Washington, D.C., meeting also featured speeches and Q&A sessions with Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and Jenny Yang, chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

    The American Payroll Association recently held its annual Capital Summit in Washington, D.C. Above are highlights from the daylong session I was hired to photograph.

    To see more photos from both meetings, go to

  • STEM Early College Profile

    Last week, I went down to Greensboro, N.C., to — among other things — take pictures at the STEM Early College at North Carolina A&T University. The photos are for a story I wrote on early colleges for an upcoming issue of American School Board Journal. Not all will be used, but I thought this made for a nice photo essay on some of the work that is being done at the school.

    The STEM Early College opened in the fall of 2012 as a joint project between Guilford County Schools and A&T. It is the second early college the district has on the A&T campus. The school opened with 50 ninth-grade students and has added 50 each year (maximum enrollment 200). Students finish their state-mandated high school credits in two years and spend the next two years on college coursework. By the time they graduate — and almost 100% are on track to do so — they will have a high school diploma and up to 60 hours of college credit.

    Given the high cost of college tuition, the move toward early colleges is taking off. Guilford County, the third largest district in North Carolina, has the most early colleges in the nation.

    For more photos, go to my Facebook page here.

  • Staffing Association Conference

    Approximately 500 attended the American Staffing Association's annual Staffing Law Conference on April 28-29 at National Harbor. I was hired to photograph the second day of the conference. Karl Rove, the former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, was the final speaker and a special guest at a private luncheon for ASA’s top members and sponsors.

    For more photos, go to

  • 'Testing Online' Feature Published

    Another recent freelance story I wrote, focusing on the challenges of online assessments in schools, is featured in a recent issue of American School Board Journal.

    At least 33 states offer some form of online assessments, and that number is only expected to grow in future years. In “Testing Online,” I looked at the hiccups districts have faced in implementing online testing as they have worked to improve their technology infrastructure and broadband access.

    You can read it here:

  • Two Magazine Cover Stories Published

    Two freelance cover stories I've written for the National Association of Secondary School Principals are now available to read on my website

    The newest, published this month, is a profile of Jayne Ellspermann, who was honored as National Principal of the Year for her leadership at West Port High School in Ocala, Fla. 

    Also posted is my November 2014 profile of NASSP's Digital Principal Award recipients and the challenges they face in infusing technology throughout their schools.

    To see and download the stories, go to

  • Reflecting on the Freelance Life

    I’ve always found the creative process fascinating, whether it’s reporting and writing a story, composing and taking photos, or watching a show develop from page to production.

    The end result — the product — usually is less interesting, because it’s “done” and I’m on to the next thing. For years, I rarely looked back at stories I had written or photos I shot. Some find it interesting that I don’t go to every performance of every show that our kids do, or go to the theater every time I see Ben on the road. But I have no burning desire — or the cash flow — to do it.

    Since my father died in 2007, I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my childhood and what shaped me as I try to help in the shaping of my children. Today, almost eight years after his death, I am hyperaware of time and the opportunities we have to enjoy experiences or let them slip through our fingers. I understand that creating “art” — if you could call what I do that — allows me to keep his spirit alive.

    Perhaps it’s a function of getting older, or being a freelancer for these past 19 months, but the creative process I’m engaged in now forces me to look back and revisit what I’ve done and where I’ve been on a consistent basis. The daily photos you see here and on my Facebook photo page are a function of reflecting on past work — “Why did I shoot THAT?!?” — even as I’m trying to promote getting more work. And the writing jobs I’m seeking require me to showcase the work I’ve done before.

    As a lifelong fan of history (familial, cultural, and political), I enjoy analyzing and figuring out how past events have shaped and continue to affect us to this day and beyond. A number of the essays in this blog merge those interests, allowing me to be creative (I hope) and analytical at the same time. It’s my way of explaining how my parents, family and friends have affected my life and parenting style, or whether a significant cultural event or watershed moment has forced me to look at the world just a little bit differently.

    When I had a “regular job,” I could easily point back to what I had produced, how I had managed a budget, or how many trips I had taken. When I opened my writing and photography business in July 2013, I started with nothing and was tasked with creating something from scratch.

    The juggling act that represents a freelance life is no easier than juggling the parenting of multiple teenagers. In fact, the parallels are quite striking. You never are away from it completely. You are always looking toward the future while facing the present and — I hope — learning from past mistakes and victories. You alternately feel overwhelmed, grateful, and happy/sad/exhausted/indifferent/victorious — sometimes at the same time.

    Both require you to be on your toes and constantly creative. And, I’ve got to say, I do enjoy that, even if my toes hurt more than they should on some days.


    So, given that preamble, I recently decided to look back at what I accomplished as a professional freelancer during 2014. And I was surprised at how productive the year actually was. 

    Here’s a list:

    • Wrote 30 feature length articles for state and national publications, several of which have come out early this year. At least one featured my photography as well.

    • Regularly updated this blog with additional essays — including ones published on LinkedIn — and photographs.

    • Shot two national conferences.

    • Photographed multiple events in conjunction with Metropolitan School of the Arts (MSA).

    • Had 20 portrait and family sessions.

    • Developed a photo series that I've dubbed “Art & Dance," which led to MSA’s first-ever calendar featuring its own students. We sold more than 70 calendars and my business donated the net profit — $500 — to the school.

    Meanwhile, the Facebook photography page ( has grown to more than 1,300 followers. A website ( was set up to provide a reasonably priced method for selling prints and digital images of my MSA event pictures. More than 350 images have been sold, more than paying for the cost of the site and bringing in a small profit. I hope to expand the site to include more of my artwork in the near future.

    There’s a lot more where that came from, I’m sure. And now that I’ve spent a few moments reflecting, it’s on to the next project.

    The creative process demands it, as does the life of a freelancer.

  • (It's Just Like) Starting Over

    I've never been much of a participant on LinkedIn, but recently decided to write the column below because of ongoing frustration with my search for a new career. You can read it here, or go to this link to see the essay and the comments it has received.

    Over the past 16 months, I’ve written almost 100,000 words, taken thousands of pictures, and worked as a consultant/part-time employee on a variety of different projects. And, after taxes, my take home pay is less than half of what it was when I had a 9-to-5 job.

    It doesn’t take a mathematician to tell you this does not add up. But it is the life of being a freelancer, someone whose work is valued but not valuable, at least in terms of what it nets for your family’s bottom line.

    At one point, I used to think that words mattered, as did proper grammar and punctuation. Almost 20 years ago, I remember having a heated discussion with one of my staff members over proper sentence structure and comma usage, and being grief stricken when my publisher asked:

    “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but do you think that anyone except you gives a s--t about the serial comma?”

    It’s times like this when I wonder if he had a point.

    I still care passionately about writing and proper grammar, and I care greatly about the people I have worked with since losing my full-time career 16+ months ago. They have, quite literally, helped bail out our family from what could have been a financially devastating situation. I have diligently tried to provide them with quality work in return.

    Meanwhile, I have searched for a new career, or a continuation of the one I worked to build over a 30-year period. While I expected it to have some twists and turns, and have tried to learn as much as I can in the process, I didn’t expect to be sitting here as a professional free agent hoping the phone would ring.

    And yet, after applying for three more jobs today, here I sit.


    On the business side of publishing, everything today is about reaching the niche — the primary target, the decision maker, the person with the purchasing power who can (and will) pull the trigger and keep you (the publisher of said product) safe from harm.

    I get it. The media is a business, and you can have the greatest writers and editors in the world, but that won’t matter if you can’t make the bottom line work. When it comes down to it, it’s not about the audience, or the quality of the product you are attempting to produce, but whether you make enough money to produce the next edition.

    If the 1970s, the period in which I aged from 5 to 15, was considered the “me” decade, what would you call this one? I’d call it the “selfie” decade, in which the trivial becomes news, the news as we knew it doesn’t matter, and the people who are in charge of finding said “news” are valued more for their ability to make asses out of others or themselves.

    Here’s what I find odd: In a life where nothing — and I mean nothing — seems too archane, trivial, or obscure to escape the reality show cameras and trending websites, the fact that I care about the work I do seems to draw a collective “meh” from the mass audience.

    As if a mass audience existed anymore.


    The reason I became a journalist and professional communicator is because I enjoy talking to people. Everyone has a story to tell, and I have been blessed to hear many people tell theirs. Some are more compelling than others, of course, but each informs us in some way, and I’ve learned a great deal from my professional colleagues and friends in addition to the people I have spoken with while taking notes on my laptop.

    All in all, it makes me wonder: Why don’t we tell stories any more? Why don’t we do a better job of listening, or taking the time to listen, to what others have to say? In part, it’s due to our oversaturated society, but it’s also due to the current state of business.

    I love the Internet, despite what it has done to the business I love (or vice versa). When something piques my curiosity, for whatever reason, I’m the first to click on the link. Perhaps I don’t read as much as I should about current affairs, in part because they are so depressing as a rule, and I’m not completely up to speed on the latest celebrity gossip that once was confined to the checkout lines in grocery stores.

    As the parent of four teens, I care about my family and doing good, interesting work that helps to financially support my family. It's a desire for a work/life balance that I didn't have in my 20s and 30s when I was climbing the professional ladder. And how can we achieve that balance if we're always holding a smartphone, tablet, or laptop in our hands?

    I wish someone — anyone — would buck the trend, avoid the resume screen out, and hire employees who do care about the trivial things in life, especially when those trivial things result in quality work. As someone who is approaching 50, I wish my relative value to a hiring manager would not be divided in half so an employer could select two 25-year-olds.


    Over the past year, several friends and acquaintances — all men, all around the same age as me — have been laid off. One quickly found a job, but the others have struggled to re-enter today’s workplace from the outside. After spending the last 20-30 years working toward retirement, we’re now trying to find ways to make ends meet for our families.

    The advantage to experience — and to a certain degree, age — is that you know what you’re good at, what you can and cannot do, and what sort of difference you can make. The disadvantage to experience in one field is that it does not necessarily translate into another. And while I am willing to learn new things — this dog is not that old, at least professionally — I also have to figure out a way to convince someone to take the risk that I can learn new tricks.

    Here is what I would say to any potential employer: Provide me with some direction, some clear answers to my questions, and I’ll make every effort to do you proud. Respect my work ethic and my opinions and I’ll prove that my productivity can exceed those 25 year olds. Pay me a living wage and you’ll get more than you invest.

    I guarantee you that.

  • Our Reality Show 5691 (In Dog Years)

    Why that title, you ask? It feels like it's been that long since I've had a moment to write, even though I've been writing steadily for the past two months. It's just not on Facebook or this blog, which I've made a commitment to keeping up to date.

    However, keeping that commitment has been difficult amid one of the busiest falls I can remember, which is saying something given our ongoing reality show. So to catch you up, here are a few highlights from just the past month in the whirlwind.

    • Jill was gone for nine days during the first three weeks of November, attending meetings in Atlanta and San Diego, a White House convening on school counseling and college admissions at San Diego State University, and then a presentation of the 2015 National School Counselor of the Year Award in Colorado.

    • During that time, Jeremiah was in final rehearsals and starting tech for MSA’s production of “The Nutcracker,” understudying the title role and performing as the Mouse King. Performances were this past weekend.

    • Emma finished her Lake Braddock dance team obligations just in time to jump into — in her words — a “buttload” of schoolwork that would make anyone drown. She also worked on the annual Frosty Follies with Jeremiah and her boyfriend, James. That premieres this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

    • Ben went from the “Newsies” opening in Philadelphia to Cleveland for two weeks and then Louisville. Last night they opened in Pittsburgh and move onto Baltimore next week. After making trips to upstate New York and Connecticut last month, I’m planning to drive Sunday to get him in Pittsburgh (weather permitting).

    • Kate has worked her way through her senior year, doing her studies, part-time job five days a week, and frequent babysitting. Meanwhile, she and a friend have started making plans — and are actively looking — to get an apartment next summer.

    • Nicholas, in the midst of his senior year, performed in his final fall concert with Vital Signs, among myriad other tasks that come with completing your final months in college. He also joined us in Philadelphia for the opening night, along with Ginno.

    Just watching them makes me tired. But in the midst of this, I’ve been reporting, writing and editing on what seems like a 24/7 basis since the middle of September. Freelance is feast or famine, and I've been squirreling away assignments in anticipation of things getting (somewhat) quieter in December and January.

    Clients during that period have been three national education associations (AASA, NASSP, and NSBA), the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and the University of South Florida. I’m also starting work on two stories for ASCD, another client, that are due in mid-December. That does not include three photo shoots for clients, plus the dance team and MSA pictures.

    Recently I saw a sign that read, “This Christmas I want my family and friends to be happy and healthy,” and immediately lowered my expectations a bit. After this busy fall, I just want to survive the fact that all four of my kids have birthdays in December.

  • Shooting a Conference

    A selection of the photos I shot earlier this month while on an assignment for the Graduate Management Admission Council's annual conference in Baltimore is now up in the Events section of my website. If you are interested in having me cover your event, contact me at

  • Stories Appear in Three Publications

    Several freelance stories that I’ve been working on have seen the light of day in two national education magazines and a university’s twice-annual publication.

    • Five freelance stories — including four alumni profiles and a trend feature focusing on efforts to increase graduates in the booming computer science, computer engineering, and information technology fields — are featured in this edition of the University of South Florida’s magazine enVision. The publication is produced twice annually by the USF’s College of Engineering.

    • “Harassment vs. Free Speech: The Blurred Lines of Social Media” is the cover story in the May 2014 issue of ASCD’s Education Update newsletter. This piece focuses on how murky laws are making it difficult for teachers and administrators to fight back when they are harassed online.

    • My latest Money Matters column, “Snow Days,” appears in the current issue of American School Board Journal. The story looks at how this past horrible winter has wreaked havoc on school schedules, maintenance, and student achievement.

    You can access the stories by going to my Freelance Articles & Columns section.


  • Freelance article: ASCD & Teacher Leaders

    A series of stories I wrote on teacher leadership has been published in the Spring 2014 edition of ASCD’s “Policy Priorities” newsletter. Published under the headline, “Teacher Leaders: Going Outside the Classroom and Beyond,” this eight-page package of stories focuses on how schools are defining new roles for teachers. It includes sidebars on three teacher leaders, a piece on transforming leadership, and an executive summary.

    To get to the story, visit this link. For more of my freelance articles, visit

  • Back to My Roots

    You’ve heard the clichés: “What goes around comes around…” “Everything old is new again.”

    In some respects, that applies to my current career path. Thirty years ago, just after my high school graduation, I started my first job at my hometown newspaper, writing stories and taking pictures.

    Today, 10 months after my job was eliminated, I’m relying on those skills and building my own business as a writer, photographer, editor, and consultant.

    You can see my photography daily on the blog and my growing Facebook page, which now has more than 1,100 “Likes.” I also write essays on being a stage parent for the D.C. Metro Theatre Scene — also posted here — and have started a series of essays that I call “Not-So-Hidden D.C.,” focusing on lesser-known aspects of our nation’s capital.

    What helps pay the bills, however, are consulting — I started working with a Chicago-based advertising firm on a contract last month — as well as freelance writing, headshots, and event photography. I’ve also been taking photos for the Metropolitan School of the Arts.

    It’s been an interesting time, and one that appeals to my ever-so-ADD nature because it provides great variety.  And what I recently discovered is that the thrill of seeing my byline is something that never goes away.

    Earlier this week, I received two freelance pieces in the mail that I wrote earlier this year. One is the “Money Matters” column I’m writing for my former publication; the second is a piece on chronic absenteeism for ASCD, an organization that serves K-12 administrators and teachers.

    You can find both pieces in the Writing section of this website, which I recently reconfigured to reflect both my past work and my current projects. I hope you’ll take a look.

  • 'Money Matters' Column Makes Debut

    "Money Matters: The Cost of Technology": My first column as contributing editor for American School Board Journal, the magazine where I worked for 12 years, focuses on practical money tips for school board members. The column will appear 6 times a year. You can read it online at or download it in the Freelance Articles and Columns section of this website. 

  • Photos Featured on MSA Promo Materials

    Seven of my photos are featured on this easel promoting The Academy at Metropolitan School of the Arts, a new private school in Lorton, Va. that is the first of its kind in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. For more information, visit

  • First Freelance Article in NASSP Magazine

    My first freelance article appears in the current issue of Principal Leadership, the magazine of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Ahead of the Digital Learning Curve profiles winners of the 2013 NASSP Digital Principal Award and looks at how the infusion of social networking is influencing leadership and instruction.