Lightening Strikes Twice

The first bolt of lightening:


One year ago this week, I was recognized as one of seven Early Childhood Educators in Massachusetts.  It was an honor, and a celebratory event.  I stood among top educators and also the movers and shakers in the field of Early Education.  This event has now come full circle at school, exactly one year later.  It’s a really good story.  Oh, how I love to tell a story.

The conversation in the car with my husband headed to the event last year focused on what I might say.

“Will they give me a microphone to make a speech?”

“Of  course they will.”


I knew that.  I was just coming to grips with the reality of preparing myself.  I had no idea what I would say.  Then the moment came and the microphone was put into my hand.  People stepped aside, like the Red Sea parting.  I hoped they weren’t waiting for Moses…

I talked, and I told wonderful stories about children and teaching.  The audience was all ears, particularly one man in the front row.  He sat forward with his elbows on his knees and his hands under his chin.  He kept listening and scooting forward to hear every word.

There was a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder.  I was being told to wrap it up as others needed a chance to speak.  Gee, I could have talked and told so many more stories.  As I left, the man in the front row introduced himself as Tom Weber, the Commissioner of Early Education in Massachusetts.  He is the man directly under the Governor.  We struck up a wonderful conversation.  “Jennie, I want to hear the rest of that story!”  Of course I invited him to visit my classroom and school.  We exchanged emails, and that was how the evening ended.

Three is the charm, they say.  After three scheduling attempts, Tom Weber visited me and my school this week.

The second bolt of lightening struck.

He was wonderful!  Well, I wasn’t surprised as I had discovered that a year ago.  What was new was watching his interactions with children.  He never forgot a name, listened carefully to everything a child was trying to say, and genuinely had fun.  In my classroom  children were busy in a Pizza Parlor.

“Tom, are you hungry for some pizza?”, I asked.

Of course he was!  I had the pleasure of stepping aside and watching the Pizza Parlor in action.  It is good to know that the person in charge of Early Education in our state is equally and actively engaged with young children.  Ground roots.  I had to drag him away…it was time for the whole school to sing for him.  Our songs of peace and bucket filling (doing kind things for others) were terrific.  Every child belted out the words with heart.  Then, we sang “Love Grows”.  Well, Tom Weber figured out the hand signs in a heartbeat and sang along.  Loud!  As children left, he high-fived or smiled, or simply dropped to his knees to greet a child.  Children know.  They couldn’t get enough!


Posing with Tom Weber, and a group photo with our school’s Director and Assistant Director.  It was a big day.  Big for the children and for the school.  It was the second strike of lightening for me.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Imagination, Kindness, Peace, Teaching young children and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Lightening Strikes Twice

  1. crazykatya says:

    Wow, Jennie, congratulations on your achievements! This is such a great story. I am glad that someone like Tom visited your classroom to see your amazing work in action. I think I would have had a difficult time leaving the pizza parlor as well. 🙂

  2. Jennie, that’s awesome! I’m glad Tom finally was able to schedule a visit to your school and classroom! He does really “get it” in terms of kids and caring for them. I bet it’s really hard for him – knowing what he’d really like to do for kids and their caregivers, but being given so few resources by the Governor and the legislature.

  3. srbottch says:

    Congratulations, Jennie. You earned the recognition and the visit. How impressive!

  4. Just reading your posts made me feel you deserved an award. Now to hear that the Commissioner recognized what a great teacher you are is wonderful. It seems that you work in a school district that every parent would love their child/children to attend.
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Well deserved. ☺☺☺

  5. beetleypete says:

    How refreshing to read about a politician concerned with education who actually shows an interest in children, and knows how to engage with them too. I cannot imagine that happening here.
    (And belated congratulations on your richly-deserved recognition.)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      You are exactly right, Pete. When a politician is genuine in his work, it is refreshing. Everyone kept saying, “What a wonderful man.” Thank you for your good wishes. Best to you.

  6. GP Cox says:

    Congratulations – wonderful to hear an upbeat story!!

  7. Dan Antion says:

    It’s good to have your work be recognized, so congrats on that. It’s also good to know that the system you work in is led by someone who shares that vision and energy. Good story, all around!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Dan. Yes, it is good when the leader of the system genuinely cares for the system and the children. Glad you enjoyed the story, both stories.

  8. I’m so very happy for you, Jennie, both for the reward and for the special visit. It’s great that the state and the commissioner recognize and value your work with your children!

  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, This is wonderful!!! Congratulations!

  10. Darlene says:

    So well deserved. I love when people get recognition for the great job they are doing. The school visit must have been very special. Children are like modelling clay and the adults in their lives are the sculptors. You are helping create some masterpieces!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Darlene. I love your analogy! So true that children are clay to be modeled by a sculptor. I am grateful for any sculpting I can possibly do. 🙂

  11. There is something to be said for grassroots commitment, but when support and dedication comes from the top, it’s so much easier! How wonderful that you have a commissioner who gets it!

  12. Libby Sommer says:

    well done, Jennie. congratulations. fantastic to be recognized for your dedication and hard work.

  13. Now where the heck is that LOVE button??? Congrats twice!! I was thinking you should be honored and apparently someone else did as well!! I am so happy for you and the children who have people that actually care about what happens to them. Over the moon here with happiness for you.

  14. MC Clark says:

    What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing…had me grinning ear to ear.

  15. Great story, CONGRATULATIONS, Jennie! I had to zoom in on each picture to read and see everything. I’m thrilled to learn about Tom and what a great job he is doing in his position, as well.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Marcia. It was quite an honor- twice! He is terrific. How did we ever survive without technology, like zooming in to read it all? Ha!

  16. Congratulations, Jennie! My mom used to be a teacher, and I love reading about all of the great work that you do. (And I am so grateful that someone like you is around to help guide children as they learn and grow.)

  17. sportsattitudes says:

    Good to see you’re getting recognized for your efforts, especially from those positioned to provide assistance to educators throughout the state. Well done Jennie!

  18. Congratulations Jennie, you deserve the moon and stars as far as I’m concerned. You are a gift. I am so happy for you. The love you give, the care, and the joy to others, especially children, is without measure. Karen 🙂

  19. Congratulations! Anyone who follows your blog knows you deserve the honor — but it’s especially wonderful to know that the state commissioner for early childhood ed knows and cares so much about what he’s doing. I knew from the way you described him listening that he was cool. 🙂

  20. reocochran says:

    You deserve all the accolades they can give you, Jennie!! I’m so proud of the difference you make upon children, parents, teachers and school administrators, now the Commissioner of Early Education in Massachusetts! Hugs, Robin xo

  21. Barbara says:

    Your Tom Weber sounds like a real gem. Congratulations on your award.

  22. Many congratulations, Jennie! Well deserved! 😄

  23. See there? People DO notice….

  24. ren says:

    I am elated for you! You are more than deserving! Hugz and super congrats.

  25. Norah says:

    Congratulations, Jennie. You bring a richness to education that is lacking in many areas. Tom Weber is an inspiration. He is just how every Commissioner of Early Education should be – someone who loves and respects children. Massachusetts is fortunate to have two wonderful educators at least.

  26. Oh my God, Jennie, I am SO TOUCHED!!!!! This is great. I think what touches me the most is how service-oriented you are. When you opened your mouth to share, stories of children came out — because from what I see, your focus is on loving and supporting them. This is a gift!!

    Also, WOW on Tom Weber. Love how engaged he was and that he didn’t want to leave the kids.

    I’m doing a free online forgiveness intro this Friday, and Jennie if you want to participate, if it would serve you as a person and teacher to practice this tool, it would be an honor to have you. Feel free to contact me at (no strings & completely fine if you don’t want to ! ) OK, much loving to you and to all these kids. Love and blessings, Debbie

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