| AGAST Grandparent/HOPE Mentor
Joan W. Higgs retired from the seventh grade classroom in June 2000 with nearly 24 years experience. For fifteen years prior to her retirement, she was on the professional staff of Central York Middle School in the Central York School District, York, PA, where she taught seventh grade English using an integrated Reading/Writing format. She also served as a seventh grade team leader for twelve years. She has taught public speaking, English 7-12, theatre, and journalism. Joan is a graduate of Fairmont State College (University), Fairmont, West Virginia, and earned her Masters Equivalency from such institutions as Penn State York, Shippensburg University, Western Maryland, and Cambridge University in Cambridge, England. For eight years she served on the Writing Assessment Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Department of Education and has participated in many workshops that train Pennsylvania teachers in implementing the Holistic and Domain Scoring Guides for the PSSA.
She has served as a guest lecturer to education majors at Shippensburg University and York College. For eleven years Joan conducted workshops throughout Pennsylvania on Organizing and Implementing the Reading and Writing Workshop. Following her retirement, Joan worked as a teaching consultant in PA, NJ and NY. When she learned she was going to become a first time grandmother, Joan retired from consulting and, after the birth of Connor, learned the joys of grandparenting.
Joan lives with her husband Ron in Seven Valleys, an agricultural suburb of York, PA. They have two children, Lora, a veterinary nurse in Denver, CO and Derek, President of Higgs Equipment in Hanover, PA. In addition to being Connor’s Nana, Joan is also mother in law to Kelley Kozma Higgs and Nana to Caroline Kathleen Higgs, born still on December 23, 2007. Because of the way events unfolded on that day, Joan was with Kelley when the doctor said, There is no heartbeat. Her family’s journey through grief began and it is her hope that, as a living memorial to her granddaughter, she can help other family members survive this sudden loss that forever alters the lives of families.