We Are Crew, Not Passengers!

Julie Siddens

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About Me

What inspired you to get into the field of education?: 

In June of 1988, after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, and spending a season as a "Ski Bum" in Summit County I began my training with the Peace Corps. It started in Little Rock Arkansas learning the ins and outs of being a Blind Mobility Instructor. From there I, along with close to 100 other young and wide eyed American youths, landed in Morocco, North Africa. For the next two years I worked as a teacher at a school for the blind, but in all honesty I did way more of the learning than my students did!

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?: 

I love my job! There are the obvious answers to this question, like seeing the light bulb go on for a struggling reader, or guiding two students to resolve a conflict, or watching a child who was reluctant to let go of mom's hand on the first day of school  blossom into an independent, self -confident learner. But for me, its not one part that is rewarding. It's how the whole thing works, the community, the dedicated staff, and the Expeditionary Learning approach.

General background information (years in education, degree(s), Universities/Colleges attended): 

This is my fifteenth year at Polaris Expeditionary Learning School. I am a Colorado native and even though my husband and I have taken many opportunities to work and travel abroad, we always seem to end up back in Colorado. We love it here. I have had the privilege of teaching in several diverse situations including in the Peace Corps in Morocco, on the Navajo Reservation, and prior to Polaris I was the Kindergarten teacher at the International School in Belgrade, Serbia. I also taught special education in Cherry Creek and spent some time as a literacy specialist for Jefferson County. As I mentioned earlier my undergraduate degree is from UNC. I also have my masters from CU.


I'm a typical Fort Collins resident. I spend most weekends in the winter skiing, or sitting in traffic on I-70 wishing I was skiing. I mountain bike and hike in the summer, although this summer I got a road bike and have been playing with that some. I hang at a lake that is in my neighborhood as well as spend many hours in my large garden. And occasionally, when they can fit me in, I spend time with my children, Maggie, who is 20 and attending Lewis and Clark college in Portland  and Luke, who is 23 and in his final year at CU in Boulder.

PSD does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran status, age or disability in access or admission to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. A lack of English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation.