Don’t Break Penny Poe’s Heart
Many of you know that I will vacate my position with the PC Foundation effective June 10th. I served this District in this capacity since January of 2016, but my association with Putnam City goes back to third grade at Wiley Post Elementary School. I attended Harvest Hills and Northridge as well, before going to Central Junior High (now Capps Middle School - yes, I’m old). I graduated from Putnam City High School after an involved high school career. After college, I came right back and taught at PC North, as well as holding long term substitute positions at Rollingwood and Overholser Elementary. I left for a few years, but came back for this wonderful position, thanks to Caroline Gist’s belief in me. She’s been a true champion and mentor.
I am deeply grateful to the PC Foundation for the opportunity to make people smile every day. Giving money away to people is fun! Alleviating teacher’s burdens is rewarding, and I am humbled when I walk into a building and someone makes a comment such as “you’re like Glenda the Good Witch!” I’ve enjoyed the collaborations with churches, businesses small and large, as well as our district leadership who let me help them. I’ve had the opportunity to increase my skills into areas I’d never thought I would, which is a lasting gift. I don’t imagine ever finding this level of job satisfaction again.
I am proud of so many things we’ve accomplished since I started. We created a teacher-focused grant program called the YES! Grants that has given out more than $100,000 since inception. We started Communities and Schools Together that won a statewide program award. We supported Early Birds, STEM in Elementary Schools and the ELL program for adults with tens of thousands of dollars each. We started a new FUNdraiser with Indoor Recess, engaged our alumni like never before, modernized our Christmas CareShare program, expanded our coat and shoe project and rebranded it Penny’s Closet (after the Angel of Putnam City who started it), and expanded the PC Foundation’s profile throughout the community. Our budget doubled and our investments more than doubled. I am proud to leave this Foundation on firm footing from a board development, program, and financial perspectives.
But there is more to do and I do hope the Trustees along with the District and new staff will continue finding ways to support our staff and students. Increasing our involvement with alumni, finding ways to engage parents, expanding a mentoring network, deepening our minority teacher pipeline, and starting an apprentice program with our own trades workers top my list.
My most important piece of advice to my successor is above- don’t break Penny Poe’s heart. Love CareShare as she has. Continue to find ways to help more children “hold onto their hopes at Christmastime.” I am grateful we started a restricted endowment just for this program while I’ve been here. Her legacy must continue.
I look forward to seeing achievements I can’t even fathom for the PC Foundation. I leave with a full heart, knowing that I am supported beyond my deserving by so many of you. Thank you for allowing me to be your cheerleader! I truly love you Putnam City!
May 17, 2022