Kentucky sure does produce a lot of Final Four basketball players. Lucky for us, though, it’s also produced public education advocate Myrdin Thompson.
Myrdin, a Louisville-based, married mom of three kids and education consultant/advocate, has worked tirelessly for the sake of everyone’s children since 2002. With her kids spread out (next year) from high school down to first grade, Myrdin admits, “I’ll be in public schools for a long time!”
As a consultant for Family Engagement in Education, past president of the 15th District PTA, and a past delegate/current mentor for Parenting magazine’s Mom Congress, Myrdin is often asked to consult on parent engagement policy pieces or participate in community discussions about creating better parent-school relationships. She’s also a champion for the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life immunization efforts — and most recently, was invited by the White House to participate in a Community Outreach Summit.
In a blog post about her experience, Myrdin reports that the White House-sponsored event was truly a dialogue, and it centered on topics related to “An America Built to Last.” Myrdin encourages parents to visit the White House Community Partnership Summit Forum to learn more and join the conversation.
What’s the driving principle that keeps you going?
“I know it’s odd, but I really do try to live this every day: ‘I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.’ (attributed to both Edward Everett Hale and Helen Keller).
Certainly there are days where that ‘something’ is picking up the phone and calling an elected official. And there are days where ‘something’ is making sure I’m available to go on a kindergarten field trip. Everything counts in its own way, and everything makes a difference.”
How can parents make a difference in the quality of public education?
“By participating as partners in education. We each can decide what that participation will look like, but participating is key. Sometimes when our child is succeeding in school we disengage from education. Since we don’t have an issue we tend to not get involved in the ‘issues.’ However, education is in a transformative state right now and those changes that State and district leadership are committing and agreeing to will impact how children are going to be educated. I would encourage parents to not just join their school’s parent group (which is important) but by attending school board or community meetings where conversations about education are occurring. A parent educated and informed about education can better contribute as a partner in their community of learning and help all students to succeed.”
What are you passionate about?
“I think the better question is what am I not passionate about? I love to learn. Whether that means reading or watching a documentary, being able to attend a free lecture at the University, or go to the museum, I just enjoy gaining knowledge. Then I love sharing what I’ve learned, either with my children or my friends. I’m certainly passionate about education and how that connects to creating a sustainable community.”
What drives you crazy?
“It is my biggest pet peeve and really, such a silly thing, but when I get an email that has several recipients and people start to ‘reply all’ and you get caught in this long chain of an email when you don’t need to be, well, that drives me crazy. It is sometimes impossible to remove yourself from that loop without inadvertently insulting someone. I think we tend to forget common courtesy when we communicate electronically, whether it is via an email or text or even IM.”
What fun things do you like doing with your family?
“We do silly things like have ‘opera day’ where instead of talking we sing everything… and there are afternoons where it is a ‘Legopalooza’ building festival in the house. We like to go for family walks, but with the unusually warm winter to spring we have had, allergies have kept us home bound even on the most glorious of weather days.”
Describe your perfect Saturday.
“An early morning walk, a few hours at the library checking out new books, lunch, maybe a nap. Just all of us hanging out together, even if we are all doing our own thing, is nice.”