Dena Arbaugh has been an educator most of her adult life and is passionate about developing programs to serve the needs of students. She has taught all grade levels from K-12 and started her educational career teaching special needs high school teenagers after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and her teaching credential from the University of California, Riverside. To engage her students in “real world” opportunities, she created in- school programs such as work study at three local fast-food restaurants and gardening vegetables to cook healthy meals. She also taught elementary and middle school science in the Riverside and San Diego areas. In 1998, she moved to Big Bear from San Diego to raise her children with her husband in a small town. She spent over four years as a sales and training consultant for a large publishing company while volunteer science teaching and developing a before school GATE science program at Big Bear Elementary School. In 2003, she was employed by the district to teach elementary and then math and science at Big Bear Middle School. In 2008, Dena was afforded the opportunity to coach and collaborate with teachers while working closely with administrators. This experience inspired her to go back to school for her master’s degree in Educational Administration and earn her Administrative Credential in 2013 from Concordia University. Dena started her new career in administration as the Big Bear Middle School principal in 2013. Through hard work with an amazing team and working closely with school and community stakeholders, she created a “STEM for All” program which earned the school “California Gold Ribbon School” status in 2015. The middle school was also recognized as one of three schools in California as a top “Healthy School” and received many other awards in STEM and school culture/climate. Now that she is retired, she is using these experiences to help develop the Place-based Education “BearTech” program with the Big Bear Valley Education Trust. Being part of the mission and vision of the BBVET Board is meaningful, exciting, and purposeful!