Endorsing, Swag, Introverts, and Passion
Updated: Feb 15, 2021
Today was a big day towards making things all official. And towards making this feel more real to me.
Last night, I introduced myself to the local Democratic Committee to appeal to them for an official endorsement. That's right. I am a party-endorsed candidate typing this right now. Step 1 (or 3?) of the official campaign is done. But that was not the only exciting thing happening...
My first box of campaign swag came Tuesday night, and today I saw my buttons on people for the first time yesterday. It is strange to say the least. I've always been a behind the scenes kind of gal. Todd is the one that takes reporters around the shop when they are digging for news stories. I run the office side of things. So having my name, likeness, and "swag" out there will take some getting used to.
Those that know me, know that I'm a pretty introverted personality type. Being a politician was never on my radar, and just typing that word to describe me feels weird. I do get gregarious when I am passionate about something, but otherwise I tend toward shy and quiet. Good public education is something I get gregarious about. I am the child of public education. My husband is too. And most importantly, so is my son, a current Warwick High School student.
Education, and most importantly education that meets the needs of the students and their learning processes has been a passion of mine since I was in college (way back in the 1990's). I started my freshman year on the student educator track, thinking that I would become a high school history teacher. Even after I changed my majors, I was still a member of the SVEA (Student Virginia Education Association). I chose a graduate school that offered me a teaching fellowship, so that I could work with students in my other love- Theatre. It was there that I stood in front of a classroom and presented a lecture for the first time. My first post-graduate job was at the Folger Shakespeare Library. While I worked in the theatre administration office, I was never far from their education office, soaking up whatever they wanted to share about how teachers around the globe present Shakespeare to their students and the community.
Not long after that I became a college registrar. Not straying far from my degree in Arts Management, it was a small, private two-year art school with 200 students. I led the freshman study skills class and worked one on one with each student to create their class schedule to best meet their graduation and career goals. It was here that the kindling of my love of education was reignited into a fire. In 2001, 10 years after I entered college, I became a classroom teacher.
The four years I was in the classroom were exciting, stressful, exhilarating, and memorable. There is no greater joy, really, than seeing that metaphorical lightbulb go off for a child. I had many of those moments, interspersed with typical classroom trials and tribulations. I tried to fill my classroom with my love of social studies, and my enthusiasm for enjoying learning. But the classroom then, like now, was under external stresses. In the years I taught, my students faced 9/11 (I was in metro DC, and students in my school had parents at the Pentagon), a hurricane that shut down most of Maryland for over a week, and the infamous DC sniper (who was targeting around the school's neighborhood). Teaching under stresses like these are not things I would ever wish on another teacher. Today's teachers are facing their own stresses with the uncertainty of the pandemic. These men, women, and non-binary educators are heroes, and deserve to be recognized as such by all of us, whether we have a child in school or not.
It is this passion that I have carried for 30 years that fuels the introvert in me to be a candidate. To speak for the students and their lightbulb moments, inside and outside the classroom. To stand up for the educators inside and outside the school buildings. To be a proponent for families of Lititz and Warwick who believe in an inclusive and diverse education. To speak for the local businesses that serve the community and benefit from an educated and engaged workforce coming out of the public schools. I want to represent you. I want the best education possible for every child. I will never stop fighting for that. I will never lose my passion for education.