Everything people say is true. Kelly Clarkson is genuine. She’s as nice as the day is long. She is all about others (not herself), and so much fun.
I know. I am on her show tomorrow- in person with Kelly.
Kelly is the real deal, and she could be my best friend. That’s just who she is. When the doors opened to walk out onto the stage, she smiled and waved. I did, too. It was across a very crowded and busy room, a locked-on moment.
Everyone associated with the show is the same way. Surely they must have to pass a ‘kindness test’ in order to work there.
To tell you the story, I will start at the beginning, nearly a year ago. In the words of a ‘Jennie Story’, “It Happened Like This”:
Our blogging community is like a family, and the story begins with Kelly hearing about me through my blog and a fellow blogger, John Rieber. I received a call from Dan Sterchele, a Producer on the show. “Hi Jennie. I only have ten minutes. Please tell me about yourself.”
Twenty minutes later we were still talking.
I told him about reading aloud, Gloria, Milly the Quilter, the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Jennie Stories… on and on. He kept asking questions. A lot of questions. We laughed. Then came the next step.
“Jennie, you need to ‘wow’ Kelly. I need you to make a one-and-a-half minute video of yourself.”
“Sure. No problem.” How hard could this be? Hard. Very hard! Seventeen video takes hard. This was the best I could get:
After that nothing happened for a long time. Covid hit and everything shut down. I didn’t hear back and chalked it off to life. Hey, it was fun to give it a try. Then a few weeks ago, Dan emailed me. My pitch sheet had been on his bulletin board all along. “Hi Jennie. We want to talk to you about how you help your students fall in love with reading by introducing them to books at such an early age! Kelly is going to absolutely adore you.”
Wow! So I had been on hold.
The next four days were a whirlwind of long phone interviews and planning. They wanted to video me in the library at school as part of the Friday taping of the show. I was excited! I worked it out with school (of course they were excited, too), and then I got a late phone call from Dan – west coast time when I should have been in bed.
It was “The Call.”
“Jennie, we’re changing this. Forget taping you in the library for the show. We want you here, live. We’ll put you on a plane to LA in two days.” Did I tell you this was the first week of school? The scrambling began to find subs, get a Covid test, sign papers, and answer questions.
And just like that, I was on a flight to LA.
There was still planning to do, as in ‘get to the point and say what I need to say right away, because I will probably get six minutes’. Okay, no problem. I asked who else would be on the show. There are two famous people… and me:
star of the Ted Lasso show
singer, dancer, and actress
Dancing With the Stars, YouTube, and more
Perhaps it was best that I did not know these stars. Therefore I could hang out on the show and have fun with two new people. Yes, they are absolutely fabulous. Kelly wouldn’t have it any other way. We laughed, shared stories, high-fived, and simply had a great time together. But, I’m getting ahead of myself in this story.
At last I arrived at the studio. As I drove under the Universal Studio entrance sign, I had childhood memories of seeing this on television or in the movies. That made me smile.
The studio was right around the corner. I pulled up to the entrance.
After my Covid test and meeting the friendliest staff ever, I was taken inside. The long hallway was covered in photos of many people who had been on the show. I wish I’d had time to study all the people along the wall of fame.
I had my very own room, a ‘greenroom’, where I waited until it was my turn. The room was more like a suite. It was fabulous!
To my surprise, I had my very own name outside the door!
“Jennie, we will come and get you when we need you. In the meantime, relax and let us know if you need anything. You will be the third guest on the show.”
They came to take me to hair and make-up. When I walked in, I looked at the make-up guy, pointed to my face and said, “This is your challenge for the day.” He burst out laughing! I looked as his plethora of every tool, cream, and color and said, “I don’t have one of these things at my house.” More laughing out loud! We talked about his mother, my chicken neck, and life in the south.
As I was leaving he stopped me and said, “Thank you for bringing joy into this room today.” See, I told you everyone who works on the show is wonderful.
Back in my greenroom, the taping of the show was starting. The big television turned on and I could watch everything that was happening. Oh, I paid attention. Where would I sit? How would I come onto the stage? I needed to feel ready. Frankly, I wasn’t the least bit nervous. Nope, not at all.
Why? I had been told that Kelly loves teachers. Her mother was a teacher in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She often has teachers in her audience. I knew I was in good hands. She tells the story of being on the Jay Leno Show right after she won American Idol. There she was, a nobody so to speak, sitting alongside famous people. She has never forgotten that, nor her humble roots. The country western song, “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw makes me think of Kelly Clarkson.
Kelly opened the show singing a beautiful song about faith. She then had a video in London with the actor Stanley Tucci, and his cookbooks. They ate pasta together. JoJo was the first guest. She has a great story to tell, and her enthusiasm is contagious. Gee, I should have asked her to teach me a few cool dance moves. The next guest was Christo. He is really nice, warm, and of course handsome. His television series just won many Emmy Awards. I was captivated by both of these guests.
The staff came to my greenroom. I was walked to the area behind the set, pitch black with more computers and technology than you can imagine. The doors to the set slid open, we waved, and I was taken to the couch where I sat beside Kelly. While what seemed like a million people were rushing around with everything from cameras to mics, I waved at the audience, said hello to the other guests, thanked Kelly… and then I was on!
Still, I wasn’t nervous at all.
Kelly started by asking me what was the moment when reading aloud became my passion. I told her about my first day of teaching, when my head teacher put “Swimmy” by Leo Lionni in my hands and asked me to be the one to read to the children. Kelly jumped right in and told me her mother always read “Matilda” to her. “Yes”, I shouted. Then JoJo told us she loved the “I Survived” books growing up. Again I shouted “Yes”, as I know these terrific books. Christo told of a biography that was his favorite. He was moved.
Kelly asked me about my blog, and about how I reach out to parents. I remember feeling passionate about what I said. I remember turning to the audience and asking, “Doesn’t everyone love a good story?” The specifics are a blur. Once I start talking about reading aloud, I go like the wind.
At one pause in the taping when the technicians were doing their thing, I had a chance to talk with Kelly. She told me about her mother and teaching. I asked her if she still reads aloud to her children. Yes she does, and we laughed about keeping kids engaged. I leaned forward and said, “Would you like to know the best book ever to read to your kids? I have read it aloud so many times.” “Yes, yes!”, she said. I told her about “The Wild Robot”, by Peter Brown.
Just when I thought everything was over for me, Kelly announced there were two guests who had come to the show to say hello to me. I was stunned. I will only tell you I jumped out of my seat, yelled, told stories, and cried. You won’t want to miss it!
When the show was over, photos were taken. Here I am:
As I left the studio, I couldn’t help but stop by the sunflower wall.
After I got back home, I knew I needed to send a thank you gift and handwritten note to Kelly. What did I send her? “The Wild Robot” to read aloud to her children, of course.
P.S. I look forward to watching the show on Tuesday. I hope some of you have a chance to see it, too.
I expect you wowed them all Jennie.
Thank you, David.
Terrific! Well done, Jennie. You should have your own show. It would be a hit.
Haha! I’ll leave that to the pros. Thank you, Steve.
Do you have a link to the broadcast?
A friend sent me a link to my part, but not the whole broadcast. I am not tech savvy at all, so searching for the broadcast isn’t my area of expertise. If you go to the Kelly Clarkson website, they might have previous episodes available to watch. I can send my link to you. Let me know.
Please do. I eliminated my cable months ago and subscribe to a few programs over the web, such as FoxNation and Hallmark for my wife. Watch my Bills on my phone at my desk while doing other stuff. Kinds nutty, eh? I’ll keep trying to find it. Take care, Jennie
Just sent it over to you!
Try searching YouTube. It’s often there, too.
I hope I get ABC tomorrow afternoon (weather affects over air stations like crazy). If so – I’ll be seeing you!
I hope you saw it, Laura. It was NBC, not ABC.
Actually it was aired on our ABC station here in Florence…we don’t even get over air NBC – funny that! But yeah, I saw ya!!!
this is amazing from start to finish!
It has been wonderful!
Omg omg omg 🤩🤩🤯🤯 I’m kind of freaking out! I can’t wait to watch this!!!! So happy for you Jennie!! That’s wonderful!! ☺️😊🎉
Thank you, Jen!!!
What a fabulous memory, Jennie. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for reading, John. This was a long post, but there was much to say. What an honor for me!
How fabulous! So glad you shared. 🙂
I just watched your appearance (I don’t own a TV so I found it online) Wonderful, just wonderful! Nice they surprised you with people from your past and how remarkable for the $$ donation!
I’m so glad you were able to see it! Thanks, Annette!! The donation was a shock, and so wonderful.
Oh wow! So fabulous! Good for you, and everyone that gets to see you on the show!
I was able to watch it yesterday. So happy for you!
What a wonderful experience for you, Jennie. Recognition for a career full of job well done moments.
Thank you, Dan. It was a fabulous experience!
Such a wonderful experience, Jennie! I’m so glad you’re being recognised 🥰
Thanks, Ritu! 🥰
Wow, wow, wow! Hurrah for you, hurrah for Ms. Clarkson and her team, and hurrah for reading! And hurrah for your patience! And hurrah that you did not feel nervous! And hurrah for our wonderful blogging community! Just think how many books will be read aloud to others as a result of people seeing this episode…. I can’t wait to watch!
That’s so nice, Will. Thank you!
How exciting! And so well deserved. Congratulations!
Thank you, Cindy!
So very happy for you! What an experience! My new Jennie Fitzkie quote is “Once I start talking about reading aloud, I go like the wind.”! 🥰 🎉🎉 🌻🥳
That’s so nice, Andrea. Thank you!
How wonderful Jennie. Welll deserved. We are kelly fans here and have all her CD’s, I wish we got the programme over here!!
I am going to ask permission to post my segment on my blog. Thanks, FR!
Wonderful, Jennie, just wonderful..can’t wait to watch it I’m sure you were fabulous Hugs xx
Thank you so much, Carol!!
A star is born!!
Haha! Thank you, Geoff!
This is so well deserved! Well done to John and Alex for getting you on the show. I can’t watch it in England, but I will be sitting here just knowing that you are going to be one of the best guests ever! I hope John posts the video segment on his blog, so I can watch you in action.
‘Best In Class’ is exactly right!
Best wishes as always, Pete.
That’s so nice, Pete. I am going to ask permission to post my segment. Or, maybe John will. His wife Alex is absolutely lovely with kindness. It was an experience and an honor I will never forget.
This makes us so happy for you and so appreciative that our kids got to start their school learning journey from you and the amazing GCS community. Our DVR is ready to record. The kids are excited to see Ms Jennie on tv! Congrats!!
Thank you, Paul! I hope all the Pugh family enjoys the show. I’m still in sticker shock mode.
That is wonderful Jennie and I definitely plan to watch the show. Such a well deserved honour. Congratulations.
I hope you enjoy it, Carla. Thank you!
It was amazing Jennie. I was so impressed and I had no idea that Dollarama did that either. So wonderful!!
You are amazing! I am crying!!!! Such a well deserved honor my friend.
Thank you, Jolene! It was such an honor to be on the show. I’m still reeling in sticker shock!
No way!! You got to be on the Kelly Clarkson show!! This is the most awesome news ever. She would have just loved you. Bravo to John and Alex for making this happen in the first place. I am so over the moon happy for you. Another Jennie story to be told over and over. xo
It was a fairytale from start to finish! Kelly was fabulous, and so was Alex. Thank you, Darlene. Can you get the show in Spain?
No but sometimes its on YouTube so I´ll try to find it.
Let me know how you make out. Other bloggers have asked, too.
You are indeed a star on the show, Jennie – and Alex and I are so glad that you had a positive experience…putting on 200 hours of TV in 8 months is a taxing experience for her and her team, but she and Kelly launched the show with a goal to be kind to everyone, everyday. I’m glad you felt that when you visited!
Way to go, John, for hooking Alex and Kelly up with Jennie!!!!!
Hi John! I’m so glad I did okay on the show. Apologies that I am late replying to you, but the phone calls and emails haven’t stopped. That’s a good thing. More importantly, that’s a tribute to the show and everyone who works there.
You know the Maya Angelou quote that ends in “people will never forget how you made them feel.” That pinpoints everyone who works with the show. It starts with Kelly and Alex, and filters down to everyone, including the makeup guy. I felt it. I was lucky enough to meet Alex! Honestly, this has been one of the best experiences in my life. Thank goodness I wasn’t a flop on the show!
I feel that thank you letters are incredibly important, and unfortunately lost these days. I have written and sent a thank you gift to Dan and to Kelly (I hope she likes the book). I need to write a letter to Alex. You can send the address to my email at email@example.com.
Again, thank you, John.
Reblogged this on johnrieber and commented:
My blogging friend Jennie is a guest on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” today and this is a look at her experience behind the scenes!
Thank you, John!
Well deserved! I have set my machine to tape her show and I am looking forward to seeing you.
I hope you enjoy the show.
What an amazing experience!
Hi Jennie, this is wonderful!!!
Thank you, Charles! It was truly wonderful.
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is a wonderful post about Jennie, the extraordinary teacher, appearing on the Kelly Clarkson show!
Thank you, Charles!
Wow. It is so nice to hear about your experience and the fact that a talk show isn’t always ‘celebs’ talking about themselves. You have so much to tell about how children should be put on the right path to start their education. It deserves a national audience.
I thank John for setting this up.
And now that you are in Show Biz, I will wrap up this comment by saying Break A Leg.
I love it! Thank you for your lovely words, Don. It was a whirlwind and a dream come true.
Such beautiful experiences!
You deserved your spot on the show and so much more😊
WOWOWOWOW! That is soooo awesome! What an experience! She must have totally loved you! Who wouldn’t!!!! 💚
That’s so kind. Thank you!
This is so exciting, Jennie! (I’m trying to find the episode on one of my streaming services. No luck yet.)
Our daughter couldn’t find it, as she doesn’t have cable, but she said Hulu had it and she was able to record or download it. It was exciting!
It looks as though our Hulu subscription doesn’t include live network TV, but I expect it will go up on YouTube at some point.
Liz, I just posted a video of my part on the show. Enjoy!
Thank you, Jennie! I did enjoy the video. Just the thought of early literacy makes me happy.
Hooray! Yes, early literacy fills me with happiness, too. Yesterday I finished reading Charlotte’s Web to the children.
I didn’t see this blog post until after I watched you today on the show. My wife watched it with me because she has heard me talking about you before, Jennie I felt so happy for you—the world was going to meet one of the superstars of education.
One of the truths about education is there are always obstacles to overcome, but teachers find a way. We, hopefully, not only inspire our students but our fellow educators as well. I may be retired now, but I’m still passionate about books, children, and teachers. Thanks for being a fantastic role model for so many.
Beautiful words, Pete. Thank you! I feel the same way about education, and if I was lucky enough to inspire a teacher or a parent on the show, then I feel proud and happy. This was a much longer than usual blog post as there was so much to tell.
congratulations on such an honor and such recognition for all the good you do. it sounds like you hit it out of the park; I can’t wait to watch to see who the two special guests were!
Thanks, Jim. When I saw the show I cried at the surprise, the same as I did when I was there for the taping.
just watched the clip – how wonderful that you had a former student and then his children, as well as someone fro the West Virginia program. And how generous of Dollar General! Congratulations!
My shock at the donation from the Dollar Store was genuine. I cried again when I watched it in TV. It was truly a wonderful experience, Jim.
I can imagine the shock, and thejoy, you felt at that moment!
That’s awesome, Jennie. I love the video you made. I hope you get to share a link to the show on your blog. I don’t know if the show airs here but I don’t watch a lot of television and I’d love to watch this episode.
I will ask permission to send a link a friend sent me, but it’s only my part in the show.
That would be great. That’s the bit I’d like to see. 💖
Norah, contact Beetley Pete. He has been a fellow blogger for a long time. Well, when this snafu appeared, for people outside of the USA not being able to see the video, Pete (from England) follows John Rieber’s blog and Twitter. John is the husband of the EP of the Kelly Clarkson Show. Pete can give you the link to view the show. He is absolutely wonderful.
Thank you so much, Jennie. I’ve seen it now. Just a couple of hours ago. Sally posted it on Fb. You did very well. It’s so exciting. And how amazing to have your wonderful work supported even further. Congratulations.
I’m so glad you were able to see the show. Thanks so much, Norah!!
I’m glad too, Jennie. It was wonderful. 💖
This is absolutely wonderful Jennie and so pleased and proud of you.. I am sure the show was wonderful and only sorry that we don’t have access to watch.. I bet you killed it and I have texted Kelly Clarkson Show to tell them how much we love you… I will reblog later today…♥♥
That is so nice, Sally. Thank you! I thought you would enjoy the story. 🥰
I posted the video of my clip this morning!
Wonderful thanks Jennie..♥
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Thank you, Sally!
What an adventure! And you came off as yourself, a true believer in kids. You are a wonder, Jennie!
Thank you so much, Jacqui! 🥰
I just watched Kelly on the Voice last night (taped) and had warm thoughts about her, thanks to you.
I’m so glad. 🙂
What an amazing and well-deserved opportunity, Jennie!
Jennie! First I’d like to say, your audition video was fab! Also, I taped the show and watchedit last night. Your personality took over the stage! Your enthusiasm jumped out of the screen. And I was thrilled to hear you were given 50K for your literacy project in W. Virgina. You’re a star my friend! Big hugs! xxx
Thank you, Debby! Your kind words went straight to my heart. Enthusiasm when it comes to reading aloud is, well, me! I am still in sticker shock over the donation. Best to you, my friend. 💕
I was so thrilled for you. You are the same Jennie here, on video, and on TV! You’re a natural! ❤
🥰 ❤️ 💕
Wonderful, dear Jennie! 💞
Many thanks, Bette! 💕
Reblogged this on OPENED HERE >> https:/BOOKS.ESLARN-NET.DE.
Many thanks, Michael!
I always have known you are famous, Jennie! Please remind me early enough, if your are going for president in 2024. 😉 xx Michael
Wow, Jennie. You’re famous! How amazing to know that your message about reading aloud and engaging children in books is getting out there to a broader audience. You’re making a difference. I think I would have been a nervous wreck, but you pulled it off like a professional. Huge Congrats.
Diana, today at school, a former parent who is now our speech consultant came to school for her first visit to observe children. I taught both of her kids. She was excited to tell me that her children watched me on TV. Her oldest (now 4th grade) said, “Mom, It was Jennie who made me love reading. She read aloud, and I loved it.” Well, if those aren’t the best words I could hear!
Wonderful, Jennie, and I’m sure those kids will one day read to their kids. A love of reading will be a legacy that spans generations. Congrats on a job well done!
I think they will. Thank you, Diana. 🥰
Congratulations, Jennie, how very exciting and wonderful. Kelly certainly does seem like a very genuine and lovely person. I am glad you had such a great time on the show.
She is, Robbie. It was a wonderful experience, and a moment to promote reading aloud. Thank you!
Yes, absolutely, Jennie.
You are so kind and genuine. I can feel it just by reading your blog. 😊
You are joy just like Ms. Clarkson. Loved your story!
I can feel your excitement! Congratulations on another achievement!