(Wanda is pictured here with Sioux City EA president and good friend Donna Walsh.)
Linda invited me to accompany her when she toured Siouxland schools and I eagerly accepted. It was a rare opportunity to watch her in action, but I quickly learned she logs longer days than my retired body is accustomed to.
Linda observed numerous classes over a three day period ranging from elementary to community college. To the delight of students she participated in several of the elementary classes by reading stories aloud. She still has that great teacher gift of holding the rapt attention of her audience. Additionally, students were captivated by the mood pencils she passed out. This was evident from the many “oohs and aahs”.
In every building Linda met with small groups of teachers and support staff to listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and thank them for the efforts they make every day to enrich the lives of their students. Of vast interest was the upcoming salary increases. Linda always emphasized how vital it is to have leaders in the state house who value what teachers do and are willing to pay them for their efforts.
Linda met with the local press on two late afternoon occasions which included a live TV interview and the publication of a newspaper article. Her reoccurring theme was that it is a new day for public education and that teachers are fortunate to have a new majority party that will finally financially reward them.
In the evenings we met with local leaders for leisure meals and to discuss a wide variety of education issues. I met some new people and was also able to renew acquaintances with old friends.
Early mornings and late evenings I could always find Linda working on her blog recounting the day’s events in script and pictures. Our day was always fully scheduled and it boggled my mind to know how Linda kept such a brisk pace for this tour as well as her many school visits over her three years of service as president.
I do thank Siouxland educators for their warm hospitality and Linda for giving me the opportunity to accompany her. However, as for me, I am now going home to rest.