This is story number four in a series of hopefully more celebrating March as National Women’s History Month.
By L.C. “Buster” Evans.
Georgia’s Teacher Retirement System
As I’ve reached the age of my 60’s, I probably have spent more time reflecting with gratitude those who have positively influenced my life. Additionally, I’ve made it a priority to ensure that I express thanks to those who particularly influenced my life.
I don’t know that I’ve ever really thought to categorize those influencers by gender, but with Becky’s inquiry, I did just that with pleasure.
Being a properly raised southern boy, I of course have to begin with my own mother, Leona Evans. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, and my mother never worked outside of the home, but did she ever work around the home.
Her modeling of a life for family and her phenomenal work ethic has been forever imprinted upon my life. Additionally, I can remember her discipline when I got out of line which fortunately didn’t happen much, but when I did, she was certain to bring me in line! What she gave perhaps the most was her time. Wherever I needed to be and however I need to be supported, she was there.
As a young adult, and for the rest of my life until today, I have to say that my wife, Debbie, has had the greatest amount of directional influence. In addition to all of the other things that a wife does, Debbie influenced me early on as an educator. It was her love of her chosen profession that led me to gradually, but definitively move into the educational profession.
I can clearly remember thinking that she has so much passion for her chosen profession, and it influenced me. Once I made that move and did all of the things to move my career along, she was a supportive partner. During times of frustration and occasional change, her support and encouragement made the difference.
Finally, and I’ve spoken to this during the last few years, but I’d have to say that my former Board Chair at the Bleckley County Schools, Wanda Barrs’ influence enhanced my career in an amazing way. Wanda has such a high level of expectations for all of the people she works with, and those expectations were ingrained into me professionally as a young superintendent and followed me throughout my career.
She would often challenge me to “compare yourself to the best, not the worst.” So throughout the years that I worked to use data for organizational improvement, that was the approach that I have used.
There certainly are other people who strongly influenced my life, and perhaps one day I will have the opportunity to list them all. In the meanwhile, I look forward to saying “thank you” to many folks I’ve worked with over the last 40 plus years in the workforce.
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