My buddy Shannon Odom is principal of Gilmore elementary in Jackson and has been for a number of years. She and her cohort in crime, Kathy Spidle, principal at Grove Hill elementary, keep Clarke County superintendent Larry Bagley on his toes.
I kid Shannon that her claim to fame is that her daddy was once police chief in Jackson and arrested the Allman Brothers band. She laughs, which she does often, and admits this is a true story.
Shannon is totally devoted to her students and pours her heart into her job. This is shown in the following that she recently posted on Facebook:
“On Wednesday, one of my girls was having a rough day, a really rough day. That afternoon, she spent some time with me in my office when she should have been having fun in the gym. After she settled down, we had a long talk about how today was a bad day, but tomorrow was a new day and a chance to do better. I didn’t see her again until the next afternoon as she was headed to the bus. She stopped right in front of me and smiled a snaggle-toothed smile. She crooked her little finger motioning for me to bend down so she could whisper something into my ear.
I bent down. I couldn’t imagine what she had to say. When I got close, she whispered two little words into my ear, “New Day.” I checked with her teacher, and it had indeed been a new day. I don’t always understand why some things just pierce straight to my heart, but that did In the middle of a tough, sad week I got a reminder that tomorrow is a new day. I think I needed the lesson more than she did.”
What a great example of what goes on daily in public schools.
One of the joys to doing what I do are the endless relationships I make with educators and the resulting thoughts they share with me. Here is an email I just received from a real teacher in a very good real school I know well.
“I didn’t go into teaching for the money but something is wrong with this picture. Alabama teachers just got a 2.5% raise, our first in nearly a decade. My daughter just got another raise. It was 15%. She has been with the company since graduating from UA three years ago and has received nearly 35% in raises during that time. What’s even better than that, she often gets emails, notes, and verbal acknowledgments of appreciation.
I’m thrilled for her but it is depressing as a teacher. This same daughter recently sent me this thought: “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than is expected.” Our school system could learn something.”
I easily understand her frustration. It is real and is eating at the very fiber and fabric of our education system.