What are some of your favorite memories of Carrie Busey?
There are so many. It has always been fun to have the different U of I athletes visit. One day I walked into the teachers’ lounge after school and ran smack into Brian Cook who was getting something out of a vending machine. Rashard Mendenhall’s mom, Sybil, worked with me as a teacher assistant and so of course both Rashard and his brother Walter spent some time with us. Seeing them sitting in little chairs was too funny. We have the first accessible playground in the area, and I am proud of that. I helped start the sensory garden and love to walk my little dog out there and hunt for my handprint. I also love to climb the hill in the back of the school which is a reminder to me of teachers taking their classes out to watch for the president’s plane to fly over when Bill Clinton came to visit (and Air Force One got stuck in the mud at Willard Airport!) And of course Halloween and the Storybook Parade! I used to have long hair and when I decided to be Pipi Longstocking my pigtails stuck out too wide to walk through classroom doors. It has been wonderful to take part when the staff has done storybook themes: Where’s Waldo, Coneheads, Harry Potter, Holes, and so many more!
If you had a whole day to do whatever you wanted to do with Carrie Busey students, what would you do?
We would all get on a plane and fly to Washington, D.C. It is so important to connect our students to their history and to the wonders of democracy.
What excites you most about your job?
I really enjoy the students-their constant enthusiasm, resilience, and reinvention has made going to work not going to work. They really teach me as much as I teach them.