“As a parent and educator, I am just thrilled to have found Dora. For my middle schooler, her lessons create a pace that is just right for my daughter to learn a new field and savor how enjoyable architecture can be. It’s amazing to have my daughter teach ME a thing or two about designing. She even noted that she will never see buildings the same again, appreciating the complexities of design. Dora’s teaching style and resources have been aligned to fit the needs and skill level of my 6th grader. More importantly, Dora has inspired her.”
A comment by a parent on LinkedIn.
I began offering architecture classes when my daughter was in third grade and I volunteered to speak to the children about what I did as an architect. That 1 hour session turned into a full semester of town planning. I enjoyed it, the teacher was thrilled that I was bringing new material into the classroom while reinforcing concepts that she had been teaching them and the students had a blast.
After that, while still working full-time as an architect, I volunteered to provide after-school architecture classes at my daughter’s school. That turned into offering classes on Saturday’s at my office. My daughter is now in college so it’s been a while since that first class and I continue to offer workshops.
For several years I have participated in architecture enrichment programs at elementary and middle schools in Seattle, co-taught a history class at Nova High School with a focus on how architecture of each period reflected the goals and values of each society and worked with geometry students at the Center School looking at and defining geometry in buildings.
Between 2007 and 2012 I taught in the following Seattle Public Schools:
Lowell Elementary School
Orca Elementary School
Stevens Elementary School
Alexander Hamilton Middle School
Nova High School
The Center School
When living in Los Angeles, I taught at the UCLA Extension an introductory class in architecture.
I received a Masters Degree in Architecture, LEED AP in Commercial Interiors and have been working as an architect for over 20 years.
In terms of my involvement in public education, I am a Founding Member and former President of Parents Across America, have co-authored two books, Digital Networking for School Reform and Left Behind in the Race to the Top: Realities of Education Reform, on the League of Women Voters Education Committee and Board Member for the League of Women Voters, King County.
I now live in Portugal and teach students around the world. We are able to accommodate the time difference based on the families’ schedule and class availability.
To see the full article written and drawn by the Seattle Sketcher for the Seattle Times, see Kids dream up cities in architecture class.
An interview for the Puget Sound Business Journal
How did your organization get started?
Dora: I began offering architecture classes when my daughter was in third grade and I volunteered to speak to the students about what I did as an architect. That 1 hour session turned into a full semester of town planning. I enjoyed it, the teacher was thrilled that I was bringing new material into the classroom while reinforcing concepts that she had been teaching and the students had a blast.
After that, while still working full-time as an architect, I volunteered to provide after-school classes at my daughter’s school. That turned into offering classes on Saturday’s at my office. My daughter is now in college so it’s been a while since that first class and what was once something that I enjoyed doing in my free time has become a full-time enterprise.
For the last three years I have participated in architecture enrichment programs at several elementary and middle schools in Seattle and have been co-teaching a history of architecture and design class at a high school in Seattle. That has led to working with high school students on their independent study programs via Skype.
What is the most fulfilling part about what you do?
Dora: Seeing the light go on when a student understands a concept whether it is drawing to scale or understanding why a building is designed a certain way.
I also enjoy seeing the students come into the class and go straight to work. They’ve been thinking about their project overnight and can’t wait to get started again the next day.
That’s fun to see.
What is really unique about your organization?
Dora: We offer different possibilities for students. For some, it’s an opportunity to see if architecture is a field that they want to pursue, for other students, it’s a creative and fun yet challenging diversion, for others, it’s an opportunity to explore ideas that they have had with support from teachers who are architects and understand what they are want to achieve.
What is your favorite activity within your organization?
Dora: Working alongside the students on projects. We work together on the different design challenges. They learn from me and I definitely learn from them!
What kind of impact do you think you make on the kids that come to your classes/camps?
Dora: Some students do decide at the end of the class session that architecture is for them, others have models to take home and share proudly with their families and friends.
I get a sense that all of the students will have something to share in their classrooms at some point whether it is a greater understanding of different buildings in history, or understanding scale in math, a greater confidence in their math skills or creative endeavors, they will have an opportunity to show off their knowledge with others.
We offer online individual sessions.