Born in SoCal yet raised in the burgeoning metropolis of Tampa, Florida-Leah earned her undergraduate degree (BA) in Liberal Studies in 1999 from the University of Central Florida. While her educational interests spanned a variety of curriculums from research to literature to social sciences to the fine arts, it was through her 2 UCF semesters abroad (London for Theatre Studies and Urbino, Italy for Art and Language) that she found her true educational forte: world travel. While a huge advocate for formal education and study abroad programs, Leah was able to utilize a mix of school and leisure interests to travel the globe (and learn from experience).
After completing her undergraduate degree, Leah returned to her California roots and attended graduate school at San Diego State University. Leah enrolled in the esteemed Liberal Arts and Sciences program and participated in study abroad programs in China and South Africa. Studying under department heads and MALAS founders Harold Kushner and Stephen Roeder, Leah expanded her educational forays from her already beloved Arts and Social Sciences into the complementary study of Natural and Life Sciences. Her thesis “The Spanish Conquest of Mexico in 1521 and the Role of Biological Imperialism” fostered her love for research and the written word.
After earning her MA in the MALAS program Leah continued her education (yet again) at SDSU and earned a graduate teaching certificate in English for Secondary Education. In 2004, Leah moved back to Florida to begin her teaching career. Teaching middle school through high school for a variety of alternative programs in the Tampa metro area, Leah was a huge proponent for nontraditional education and taught a wide variety of students in an eclectic mix of programs: language immersion, GED, Cyesis for teen parents, all-girls outreach, charter school, and juvenile justice intervention. Leah also worked for a hospitality company where she was actively involved in a wide scope of ventures including concept development, upstart, and management of several high-end, multi-purpose hospitality venues in Tampa. After several years of teaching Leah took a leave of absence from the school district to pursue a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of South Florida, after which deciding that she would prefer to be immersed in education and learning rather than studying it from the ivory tower of a traditional PhD program.
After saying “sayonara” to both teaching and learning in the classroom, Leah had an amazing opportunity managing a multi-regional tutoring company (and later its bilingual sister company) created by two former female educators and funded through No Child Left Behind legislation. This grant funded program allowed underprivileged children at low income schools to receive free tutoring after school. Leah was fortunate to be involved with all aspects of this federally grant funded program and the two successful tutoring companies including: recruiting staff and students, tutoring, writing proposals, modifying curriculum, and liaison work. Unfortunately, all good things must end and NCLB was beginning to be phased out by school districts across the country prior to its federal replacement.
By chance this was also the same time Leah married her husband, an active duty Coast Guardsman, wherein they moved to Hawaii and had their son in 2012. Starting a new chapter Leah said goodbye to all the familiars of her previous life: schools, teaching, being a student, managing multiple successful businesses, and world travel. Leah started on a new journey of being a wife and mother and exploring in-depth the new state she called home. Taking a 4-year hiatus from working, Leah focused on her son and the sun, enjoying the island lifestyle and all things Hawaiian: musubis, poke, island hopping, and endless beach days.
Just as before, all good things must end and evolve; with the next military move the family relocated, from one island to another, to The Outer Banks of North Carolina. Leah was fortunate to find Carepathways.com and soon returned to 2 of her favorite interests and strongest suites-writing and research.