I just spent the entire day at a Special Olympics track meet. I saw athletes of all ages and abilities competing in running and field events despite the windy, cold Ohio weather. These athletes were happy, ready and motivated to do their very best in every event they were in. Many waited hours on the infield huddled together with us in blankets, but you never heard one negative word. Just laughter and stories. These athletes INSPIRE me.
My Dad, James Pierpoint - My dad never went to college, had no college degree, but was the smartest man I’ll ever know. I lost my dad six years ago this month and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. There’s rarely a day that I don’t wish I could pick up the phone and ask “What do you think about…” “Did you hear...” “Can you believe…”. He'd have the answer.
My dad taught me from a very young age that I was going to have to fight a little bit more than everyone else if I wanted to succeed. He never let me give up or quit trying. Those who truly know me know that accomplishing things such as swimming, tying my shoes, and riding a bike didn’t come as easy as they may for everyone else. He instilled the “don’t feel sorry for yourself or let others feel sorry for you” mantra that I still carry today.
At my dad’s funeral, there was a line out the door of people waiting to say their final good-byes. The funeral director later told us he was outside directing traffic! I realized that day that my dad inspired many people. I will never be close to the person my dad was, but I continue to be inspired by his words and my memories of him.
My Aunt, Barb Leeper - My aunt is often referred to as the Rose Kennedy of the Pierpoint Clan. She keeps us all together and has through some pretty difficult family struggles. She never waivers, never loses her calm, and keeps everyone focused and together.
Aunt Barb has always been “my favorite”. Although I didn’t see her very often, I loved spending weekends and summers with her. She and my uncle were both educators. Together they showed me the love of education. I remember my aunt driving to Columbus to get her administrator's degree, and then her superintendent's license. I thought, I’m going to do this some day. I was lucky to be able to see more of her when I was in undergrad, because my college was pretty close to where she lived. Dinners with her proved that I was doing the right thing.
As I became a teacher and as I worked on my administrative license, she has constantly supported me, bought me books and sent letters encouraging me on. Although she’s retired now, I know that I can still call her and ask for her advice and support. She will ALWAYS be my educational inspiration!
My Mentors - Dr. Susan Sears, Dr. Belinda Gimbert, Bobby Dodd, Sherri McCaul, Dianne Ryan and Bob Searles
I would NOT be where I am today without these education icons! Each of them has had an impact on me and has bettered me as a teacher, counselor and aspiring administrator. All of my mentors have shown what dedication and excellence looks like and have always motivated me to try harder and push myself further.
I may not reach the greatness of any of them either, but if I can inspire another educator they way they have, then I will at least feel purposeful and feel that what they have taught me was valued and appreciated!
I’m lucky to have, and had, ALL these people in my life. I’m better because of each of them. I can’t wait to meet the next person who influences me in such a way that I can add them to my list of inspirational people!
I encourage everyone to take a minute and think of someone or something that inspires you, and take just a few minutes to acknowledge them. For the last 30 days I have been doing daily “shoutouts” celebrating others and it truly has been the best! A kind word goes a long way!