I was raised in Oologah, Oklahoma as Donna Hobbs in the shadow of a famous American, Will Rogers, who said "I never met a man I didn't like." At 12 my mom and step dad moved my brother and myself to Odessa, Texas to grow up in the middle of what became the book "Friday Night Lights." I graduated Odessa High School in 1985, three years before the book was written about the other high school Permian. I had the opportunity to cheer in front of 20,000 people on Friday nights in the Radcliff stadium and saw the decline in oil prices put "For Sale" signs in just about every lawn. 

At 18, I worked for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Tahlequah, Oklahoma which I am a member, and won their 1985 National Youth Conference Essay Award with an essay titled "How I Intend to Leave My Mark on the World."

That summer I married my high school boyfriend, and we moved to Lubbock, Texas where I began my college career. We eventually moved to Los Angeles, California for his job, and later divorced. I attended school at Glendale Community College and a course on Oceanography began my quest for a degree in Geology. 

I moved to Fairfax, Virginia with my husband Greg. There I attended Northern Virginia Community College and went on to attend George Mason University. However in my senior year Greg went to work for Texaco and we relocated to Houston, Texas.

I graduated in 1992 with a Bachelors of Science in Geology from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. A few months after graduating I received a phone call from Sheldon Independent School District asking me to interview for an earth science teaching job, because I had a degree and Geology. I worked at CE King Middle School from January to June 1993, and even though it was challenging, I enjoyed it.

Only 6 weeks after taking the job at CE King, it was announced that Greg would be transferred to Los Angeles with Texaco, so back to LA I went after school dismissed. I worked as a staff geologist for Brown and Caldwell in Pasadena, California on many environmental monitoring projects. In January of 1994 we experienced the Northridge earthquake 10 miles from the epicenter. Four days after the earthquake Greg came home from a business trip to New York and told me he was offered a job in Glenham, New York. 

So in June we moved to Highland, New York. We moved to Dutchess County in 1997 when Texaco shut down the Beacon facility and Greg moved to Kansas to stay with Texaco, but by then I was in love with New York. I was working in Beacon at Rombout Middle School teaching 8th grade science, teaching at Dutchess Community College as an adjunct instructor, and teaching Sunday school at Milton-Marlboro Methodist. We bought a house in LaGrange and one in Wichita, Kansas, but eventually LaGrange won out and we settled and started our family in LaGrange. 

We moved to our present home in 2003 after building with 3V Construction. 3V built our house in 5 months, while we lived in a camper with our 6-week old daughter Piper, 18-month old son Gregory, and 2 dogs. It also happened to be a summer that was deemed by the almanac as "7 days of sun" due to all the rain.

In 1998, when LaGrange Middle School opened its doors, I began teaching 8th grade earth science and taught in Arlington until 2013 when I became an assistant principal at Union Vale Middle School.  Although I enjoyed being part of the Arlington Community, downsizing in 2014 required my position be eliminated and I began as an assistant principal in Westchester at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School in August of 2014.    

In 2007, I took on the challenge of earning my National Board of Professional Teaching Certification which takes about 300 hours to prepare as well as a 3 hour content test. At the same time I trained for the Empire State Games which meant many miles of running (and a great stress reliever!). I received a gold medal in the Masters 4X 100 relay (with 3 other women who were much faster than me) and a bronze in the Masters 10K road race. Also, in 2007 I became a member of the LaGrange Recreation committee because I felt the value of a community is seen in its parks and families that enjoy them. 

As each year passes I seek out a challenge and in small steps work towards a goal. This has helped me to go from walking 39.1 miles (2008) in the AVON New York City Walk for Breast Cancer to completing the Long Island Marathon in 2011.  In 2013 I applied and was selected as one of 110 math and science teachers to be selected as the first New York State Master Teachers.  

As an elected representative in 2010, I have worked with many devoted community residents on several county and town committees.  I am honored to have been on a Wappinger Town committee that turned a DC Community Block Grant into a rubberized surface Little League Challenger field.  As liaison to the DC Domestic Violence Citizen Advisory committee that recorded our prevention and response to domestic violence, I was witness to the document’s impact leading to real change by prompting a regional roundtable discussion.  As chairman of the DC Tick Task Force, I have the honor of working with community members dedicated to educating residents regarding the prevention of tick borne disease, as well as advocating for improved treatment avenues for patients.  

My election to the legislature has allowed me to work on several committees within the County and observe firsthand the dedicated residents and county staff that strive to improve Dutchess County each day. I have witnessed consistent, small steps leading to more collaboration lead to county roundtables, discussions regarding existing resources such as the Dutchess County Response to Domestic Violence document, and panels regarding tick borne diseases. 

In 2013, I was able to accomplish my goal of using my own funds to provide 2013 tick kits to families in Dutchess County.   This effort led to many conversations on door steps of our constituents regarding protection and access to information.  2014 brought a highly attended panel presentation at the Pleasant Valley Fire House, and to broaden access on May 13th of this year Dutchess County Tick Task Force hosted a webinar that is archived on the Tick Task Force Committee tab on the Dutchess County Legislature website. My hope is to bring tick awareness to the fore thought of our county residents, in order to fight the many debilitating tick borne diseases that pose a threat each day, by handing out more than 2015 tick removal kits this year throughout the county and promoting with the following acronym, PASS, which stands for:

P- Protecting ourselves when outdoors with proper clothing options and tick removal kits

A – Access to information through webinars and panels

S – Spreading the word to our families and neighbors regarding tick borne disease

S – Supporting research for more answers regarding diagnosis and individualized treatment for patients

Please join me in 2015 to PASS on tick borne disease!!!!