Q: Where are you from?
A: My family moved quite a bit as I was growing up, but I consider Tucson, Arizona home. This is where my parents live now and where we travel when “going home.”
Q: What and where have you studied?
A: I studied early childhood and elementary education at BYU for my undergraduate work. I also received my master’s degree from BYU in teacher education with an emphasis in literacy. My PhD is from Michigan State University in educational psychology with a literacy specialization.
Q: Where have you previously worked?
A: When I was an undergrad, my job was helping to plan events for BYU, like New Student Orientation. After graduation, I was a kindergarten teacher at Bonneville Elementary in Alpine School District for nine years. Previous to coming here, I was an assistant professor of literacy education at Arizona State University for five years.
Q: Why did you choose to work at BYU?
A: I had great experiences in my undergrad and for my master’s program at BYU. I received many compliments in graduate school on my training from BYU. When I graduated with my PhD, I went to another university to be closer to family, but I always felt a draw to BYU. The McKay School is so great, and I really appreciate the faculty and staff. When watching general conference a couple years ago, I had a strong impression to find my way back to BYU. I wasn’t sure how to make it work but feel so blessed with the opportunity to “come home” to BYU.
Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: Being Mama to my amazing three-year-old, Maatla. She is so fun with a big, bright personality. I am learning every day. Parenting is hard work, and I am always trying to do better. Maatla helps me better understand Heavenly Father’s love and makes everything I do more meaningful.
Q: What do you regret not starting or doing when you were younger?
A: Learning Japanese. I went to a Japanese ward until I was 10 years old, and my grandparents spoke Japanese with us growing up. I wish I would have learned it early on. Now most of it has been lost!
Q: Best Halloween costume you have had?
A: When I was teaching kindergarten, my mom would always help make me amazing costumes. One year I was Princess Leia with the white dress and hood. It was great! I also had a wonderful Snow White costume. My mom watched the movie several times to get the dress right.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect nativities. I love to travel and try to find a nativity in the countries that I visit. I started with an olive wood nativity when I studied at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Sometimes it is tricky to try and find a nativity in Ireland, Botswana, or Chile when you are visiting in the summer, but it is something that makes me really happy
Q: What is your go-to weeknight meal?
A: Homemade teriyaki chicken and rice. I am half-Japanese, and one way I try to keep my culture is cooking.
Q: Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?
A: I love the beach! I also love going to Botswana, my husband’s native country. We visit family and even go on safari together. In fact, my husband and I met while I was on safari during a fellowship in Botswana. He was one of my safari guides.
Q: What invention doesn’t get a lot of love but has greatly improved the world?
A: Maybe this is silly, but I love Post-it Notes. I use them in all colors and sizes to write, plan, teach, make lists, etc.
Photos courtesy of Lynne Kganetso