Every year for the past 17 years, somewhere in rural Arkansas and Louisiana, a school librarian has received a box of assorted children’s books from an anonymous donor with a bookplate attached to the inside cover of each book. The names on the bookplates are those who deserve to be remembered and honored, but who will never see a statue or building or even a plaque erected in public in their memory. Family and friends I miss to this day. A student gone too soon. My hope is that the small gesture of a book given in love and memory will make a difference to someone. While it might not be an endowment or a building, it feels good to know that somewhere a child will keep the memory of that person alive.
Today, I learned that a talented and respected teacher in our district passed away unexpectedly. She wasn’t world famous. She didn’t have an audience of thousands in the Edutech world. But, she was, undoubtedly, a superstar. In a world where we so often hear what’s wrong with teaching, Kirsten was a shining example of what’s best in the profession. Her compassion and passion and ability to lead her students as well as her fellow teachers in growth and learning were unparalleled. She deserves to be remembered as such for years to come. I’ll make sure her name will find its way onto a bookplate in a library somewhere soon.
Her family is asking for donations to a scholarship fund for aspiring teachers. I can’t think of a better way to honor her excellence than to inspire a young teacher to follow in her footsteps. Perhaps you’ll join me in donating a few dollars there. If not for Kirsten, then in honor of someone who made a difference to you.