Reach. Educate. Inspire.

This week is American Education Week, a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. This year’s theme is “Reach. Educate. Inspire,” and will be reflected in special observances each day of the weeklong celebration.

american education week

A good teacher can change a student’s life, creating worlds of opportunity, shaping the future and inspiring dreams. In honor of American Education Week, I thought I would share a story about three educators who impacted my life and Ryan’s.

Of course, I will begin with Dr. Gertrude Barber. She thought of herself first and foremost as a teacher. Yes, she was a school psychologist, a CEO, but “teacher” would have been her favorite profession.

Sister Eulalia, the principal of Villa Maria Grade School, was an English scholar. She instilled in me the knowledge and importance of good grammar. We spent hours diagramming prayers as a means of understanding subject/verb agreement, the error in dangling participles, and sentence fragments. When we entered Sister’s classroom, our knees were shaking and our hands were trembling, we were so nervous that we would make a mistake! However, we survived and today I credit my writing skills to Sister Eulalia.


Of course, I also think of the teachers who have such a positive impact on Ryan’s learning. The first that comes to mind is Mrs. T, a retired first grade teacher who tutored him from first grade to fifth grade. Mrs. T’s guiding philosophy was that if a student isn’t learning, then we must change how we teach him – a sentiment that echoes throughout the Elizabeth Lee Black School.

Who were your shining lights? Who inspired your dreams? It’s never too late to reach out to those people who made an impact in your life to tell them “Thank You!”

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