Mottaz, Carole A. 1953-

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MOTTAZ, Carole A. 1953-

PERSONAL: Born March 12, 1953, in London, England; married; husband's name Clifford (a professor). Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Lancaster, B.A., 1974; University of Wisconsin—River Falls, B.S., 1976, M.S.T., 1978; attended University of Minnesota—Twin Cities, 1979-83; University of St. Thomas, Ed.D., 1999.

ADDRESSES: Home—N8231 1155th St., River Falls, WI 54022. Offıce—Renaissance Academy, 211 North Fremont St., River Falls, WI 54022. E-mail—mottaz@

CAREER: High school teacher in London, England, 1974-75; reading specialist at an elementary school in Minnesota, 1977-84; elementary school teacher in Wisconsin, 1984-91; Meyer Middle School, teacher of social studies and reading, 1991-99; Renaissance Academy (charter alternative school), River Falls, WI, lead teacher and coordinator, 1999—. University of Wisconsin—River Falls, instructor, 1999—; University of St. Thomas, instructor, 2002—. Speaker at River Falls Leadership Conference; River Falls Area Ambulance Service, began as training officer, became assistant director; River Falls Hospital, member of speakers' bureau; River Falls Hospital Auxiliary, member; teacher of first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation classes; Arbor Day volunteer.

MEMBER: International Reading Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Association of Children with Learning Disabilities, National Middle School Association, National Parent-Teachers Association, Wisconsin State Reading Association, Wisconsin Association of Middle Level Educators, Wisconsin Education Association, Twin Cities Reading Association, St. Croix Valley Reading Association, St. Croix Valley Association of Teacher Educators (founding member), Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Lambda Theta.

AWARDS, HONORS: Technology grant from Ameritech, 1994-95.


Breaking the Cycle of Failure: How to Build andMaintain Quality Alternative Schools, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2002.

Quality Curriculum for the Alternative Setting, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals, including Alternative Network Journal and Wisconsin School News.

SIDELIGHTS: Carole A. Mottaz told CA: "I first decided to publish the basic essence of my doctoral dissertation for two reasons. The first was that I had collected a wealth of information about wonderful quality alternative schools that I wanted to share with others. The second reason was that I was making presentations at a number of conferences at the time, and many people approached me asking how to set up quality programs or how to evaluate their existing program. I had spent a great deal of time collecting information about these two areas and wanted to help other people with their efforts.

"At the same time, I was designing a specialized evening diploma program for my alternative school. I realized that there was no single good curriculum for this program, so I wrote one myself. Once again, it didn't seem to make sense to keep this information to myself, and this formed the basis for my second book.

"My work is influenced by two sets of people. The first set consists of the students who, despite their often horrible experiences in regular education, put their trust in alternative teachers in order to obtain a high school diploma. Many of their peers just drop out of school. The horrible experiences are usually the result of a poor fit between the needs of these students and the culture of the school. The second set of people consists of the dedicated and talented staff members who choose to work in alternative settings. These people give their hearts and souls to their students and give them back their feelings of self-worth.

"Before I even begin to think about writing, I need to find a topic that I can pursue with passion. Once I have a topic well defined, my next step is to find out as much as I can about it. By this time, I have usually decided which aspect of the topic is of most interest to me, and that becomes the focus of my writing.

"At this point, I spend many hours just thinking about the topic and how I would like to pursue it. From these thoughts it seems as if an outline 'presents itself' to me. This outline becomes my chapter headings. I then re-read all the information that I have gathered, take notes, and then organize them by chapters. After the chapter headings have been established, I find a quotation with which to begin each chapter. That sets the stage for what is ahead.

"Despite my affinity for technology, there is something satisfying to me about manually cutting up my typed notes and putting them in envelopes according to chapters. Laying the strips of paper out on a table by my computer and rearranging them until I am satisfied with their order helps me structure my chapters."