My Education

  • Bedford Senior High School (go Bedford Mules! – take the high road here, folks) – 1969
  • Student-taught in Rome, Italy (yep, this was too cool!) – 1973
  • B.A. in English and M.A. in Developmental Reading from Michigan State University (go Spartans!) – 1974
  • NOLS – National Outdoor Leadership School (blisters, mosquitoes, and an amazing adventure in the Wind Rivers) – Summer 1998
  • Montana Writing Project – Summer 1999


  • Disney Teacher Award nominee, 1999
  • Helena Teacher of the Year finalist, 2004-2005
  • Who’s Who Among American Teachers (multiple year) honoree
  • Helena Education Foundation Distinguished Educator – eight times honored by students
  • Presidential Scholar Distinguished Teacher Award – 2010

Teaching and Work Experience

  • Dixon, Montana – Dixon Elementary School – grades 3 and 4 (combination or looped) – 1974-75-76
  • Charlo, Montana – Charlo Schools – Title I Program Director – grades 1-12   1977-78
  • Helena, Montana – Office of Public Instruction Program Consultant – Title I  1978-80
  • Helena, Montana – Helena School District #1 — 1984 to present day
    • Helena Middle School – 7th Grade English – “7th Heaven” Team   1995-96-97
    • Title I Language Arts (English) 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English
    • Applied Senior English
    • English I
    • English II
    • Honors English II
    • Studies in Science Fiction
    • More Studies in Science Fiction
    • Word Clues
  • Going, going, gone.  Retired 2010.
  • Fall  2011 – employed at OPI as a Scholastic Review Team member
  • University of Montana Winter Semester 2012 – Student Teaching Supervisor
  • Montana Land Reliance – freelance profile writer — 2012 to present

My Family

  • married to Rick (math and science teacher), two sons — Ben and Jeff, and a spectacularly beautiful yellow lab named Abby 2000-2009, puppy Riley —  growing, growing, growing.
  • newest family member is Ash Felix Edelen — born July 13, 2011

Best Days Ever

  • LOTR trip to Spokane with Don and 50 kids!
  • Towel Day Book Giveaway – May 25, 2010
  • June 26th, 2010 – lunch with SF guys, a beautiful plaque, and a donation to L & C Library in my name for the purchase of SF materials.  WOW!  Thanks, guys, for being amazing.

Educational Philosophy

  • In my classroom, the goal is to establish a partnership between student and teacher. Each accepts a certain responsibility: every day the teacher arrives prepared, crazy in love with the material and ready to teach; every day the student arrives prepared, ready to consider the possibility of falling in love with the material and willing to be taught. The shelves are filled with hundreds of books, not for show, but for students (even those not currently in my classes) to check out and read. I celebrate the curious student, the avid reader, the human being thirsty for knowledge and dissatisfied with easy and quick answers. My great pleasure is to guide each of my students to the edge, and sometimes after a gentle nudge, watch them fly.

Favorite Quotes

  • “It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well.” Henri-Frederic Ami
  • “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”  George Orwell
  • “The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.”  Vince Lombardi qtd. in The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
  • “Don’t Panic!”  Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • “Time is an illusion.  Lunchtime doubly so.”  Douglas Adams (May 25th is Towel Day)
  • “The sky calls to us.  If we do not destroy ourselves, we will, one day, venture to the stars.”  Carl Sagan
  • “It is an error to divide people into the living and the dead: there are people who are dead-alive, and people who are alive-alive. The dead-alive also write, walk, speak, act. But they make no mistakes; only machines make no mistakes, and they produce only dead things. The alive-alive are constantly in error, in search, in questions, in torment.”
    — Yevgeny Zamyatin (A Soviet Heretic: Essays by Yevgeny Zamyatin)