Decker graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1985, started a family, and a custom children’s furniture business in her garage so she could stay home with her newborn twins. Four years later, pregnant with her third, her business had grown too big for her to handle alone, so she decided to close it and focus on raising her children. Two years later, she began teaching.

In 2000, when Decker’s superintendent posted a job for a unique position that required a “brave, positive and creative teacher” to create a program to raise reading comprehension scores in all content areas, for all 6,000 students in her high school district, Decker took on the daunting challenge. Over the next four years, she worked with struggling readers to improve their literacy skills. Those students then worked with Decker to write and film a professional grade, revolutionary video series, called Reading to Learn. The video series, featuring her students, introduces foundational reading strategies that foster independent learning skills necessary for success in adult learning. The videos launched district wide with positive results. When funding for the project ended, Decker returned to the classroom to the challenge she enjoys most, helping teens WANT to learn and build successful lives.

Decker is currently working to complete her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, while helping her children launch into adulthood. Her 22 year old twins are well on their way! Her daughter recently graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz with a degree in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology and will be attending graduate school to earn her Ph.D. so she can do stem cell research. Her son, an EMT and wild fire fighter, is working his way up the ranks of the BLM to captain while earning his degree in Environmental Sciences. Her youngest will be attending a top university this fall to study Neuroscience.

With her nest empty, Decker will focus on promoting her life planning project books instigated by her literacy work, Get totally Real! and Get totally Real! Parent Companion to help as many teens as possible to build successful lives.

Beth Blachman Decker was voted 2010 Teacher of the Year by her colleagues, teaching a course she developed to help students transition successfully into high school. A widowed mother of three young adults, passionate about education reform and adolescent literacy, and author of three books, Decker’s life has taken her on a fascinating journey.