Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Inspirational Influences

I was reading TJ Shay’s blog about what or who inspires him and it got me thinking as well. I think that from time to time it is something you should reflect on and, perhaps, take the time to thank those people for that inspiration. So have much pondering, here is my top five of the moment:

(1) Mrs. Lily Brown – Mrs. Brown was my high school History and Government teacher. I don’t remember a single fact I learned in her class (although I have a great love of history and always vote like a good citizen) but I can never forget how much she cared about each of her students and how respectfully she treated us. I know we all that that one – or if we are lucky, more than one – teacher that inspired us to go into education and Mrs. Brown is that for me. I try to teach so that each of my students will remember that I cared.

(2) Will Richardson – I heard Mr. Richardson speak at a TIE conference in South Dakota and he spoke with such passion and conviction about technology and our students! Not only did it make me look at my technology practices, I have become nearly as passionate as he is. I bought his book immediately and have the new one on order. I had the opportunity to speak with him this year at the NECC convention and even though he was hanging out with the Big Dogs in the Blogger’s Café, he took a few minutes to speak to me and give me some info about his new book. He was very nice and encouraging and made me admire him even more. His blog keeps me informed and thinking. We all need to have our beliefs challenged from time to time so we take stock in where our passion is leading us!

(3) Jeanne Burckhard – Jeanne is my principal and she is easily the hardest working woman I know. We have a tough school climate – 86% free and reduced lunches, transient population, and a lot of dysfunctional home lives for our kids. Jeanne thinks outside the box to help these kids because she knows an education is their only hope out of generational poverty. Jeanne also knows that a happy staff is better for the kids and goes to great lengths to maintain a positive working climate. She works long hours and most weekends. Being a Title I school, there is endless paperwork and phone calls. She has personally pushed me into leadership roles, even when I have sometimes not wanted to go. She brings out the best teacher in me and is truly and mentor and a wonder!

(4) Dr. Rick Melmer – Dr. Melmer is South Dakota’s Secretary of Education. I am not sure that many people would add the Secretary of Education to their lists, which should automatically say something for Dr. Melmer. This man believes so strongly in education and supporting teachers. Listening to him speak you can feel the depths of his caring heart. He is so intelligent and hard-working. He is modest in all that he does and has wondered if he does anything to make a difference. Teachers are stunned that he could even think that, as we all know how committed he is to making this the best place to live and teach. We are going to lose him in this current position in November as he moves to take over a Dean position at a state college. We are glad he is staying in-state, but will feel his leaving his government position for a long time!

(5) Mike Crofut – my husband! Mike is probably as big a workaholic as I am, so he understands when I have papers to grade or lessons to prepare. He supports me in the ventures I undertake, but also warns me when he knows I am stretching myself too thin. He is my sounding board when I am struggling and my cheerleader when I need that. He is the logical voice of reason – particularly when I stack more and more on my plate and is my rock that keeps me grounded.

I suspect I could add a number of people to this list, but I think each of these are quite solid in the inspiration arena of my life. I am grateful for the influence each has had in my life!

Thanks TJ for getting me thinking tonight!

1 comment:

TJ Shay said...


I love that our lists have some common themes! Education, understandably is a common thread...but it seems that passion is also an undercurrent with your selections. We need to not only appreciate the people who inspire us, we need to let them know!

I can't imagine working in a school with 86% free and reduced! I am glad that you mention that your principal is supportive, that would be a key to success.

Thanks for reading and mentioning my blog.