Marianne Chopp Alt
Director of Programming
Marianne is an experienced educator with over 15 years of classroom, online, tutoring, and volunteer teaching experience. She earned a Bachelor of Math Education in 1990 and a Masters of Education with a concentration in Teacher Leadership and Curriculum Development in 1998, both at Miami University in Oxford, OH. She taught high school math in team settings in Ohio for 8 years, helping start grade-wide teams and writing and teach co-curricular lessons with three other disciplines. After starting a family and spending three years abroad in Paris, France, Marianne returned to Newtown, PA and realized a dream job of being a bookseller at an independent bookstore, starting a book club, planning new events, and establishing a social justice section. Eventually, she returned to math teaching in her local school district for four years. Inspired by the racial justice work at her Unitarian Universalist church and energized by their success at passing an 8th (guiding) principle to eradicate racism and other oppressions while she was Board President, Marianne decided her passion was in social justice education. She joined a local non-profit as the Lead Facilitator, managing and training facilitators and educating children on social emotional learning skills, Upstander tools, diversity, and anti-bias practices. She is proud that this organization was able to pivot and develop digital lessons for teachers and parents to help survive lockdown, and as the pandemic continued, remote, live lessons with students at home and in the classroom. Marianne is thrilled to be part of US2 as a Client Engagement Specialist and Facilitator, helping to educate and guide organizations, groups, & individuals to achieve their justice, diversity, equity, & inclusion goals.
I’ve heard a lot of words of advice meant to comfort but often left me feeling diminished. You can’t do everything. Take it in stride. Let it go. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Intellectually, I agreed. Emotionally, not so much. I’d try to make a phrase my mantra but couldn’t and that critical, internal voice (you know the one) would berate me for failing.
Why were people offering me this advice? I was often disappointed in myself, frustrated at not achieving what I thought I could and should. Wishing I was a better teacher, mother, friend, _________. All my life, I could get pretty good at something quickly but then the curve would flatten. I never felt as good as my life looked – there was always a hole in my heart.
In the past few years, I’ve learned that I have high-functioning depression and anxiety. I’ve realized that depression is cyclical and can be evident in perfectionism, irritability, hyper self-criticism, and obsessive thinking. In addition, anxiety can show up as difficulty prioritizing and procrastination and may be numbed with habits like emotional eating and consuming alcohol. What I had long attributed to hormones, changing seasons, or just needing to “be better,” was now something I could address.
I see a therapist, take CBD, and practice meditation. I’ve mostly quieted that critical, internal voice and filled the hole in my heart. I celebrate life in ways that nourish me – alone and with caring family and friends: yoga, biking, dancing, singing, playing games, being on or near water, and experiencing the arts.