#ThankATeacher from CEO Kathy Taylor

Some of you know me as Kathy Taylor, former Mayor of Tulsa.

Some of you know me as Kathy Taylor, businesswoman.

And, some of you – know me as Kathy Taylor, friend.

But, the person I am today is the result of the many teachers who served as my mentors over the years. Yes, they were skillful in their academic instruction, but that is only one of the many roles teachers played in my life.   Their wise words, helpful guidance, and – yes – some of their tough love helped guide my path. Their insights and sage counsel created the compass I have used for navigating my way through business, relationships, and public service.

Everyone I talk with points to a teacher as a significant mentor in shaping their life.

In Tulsa County more than 6,000 teachers, teach over 110,000 students every year. They teach students who will be the leaders, the inventors, and the workforce of tomorrow.

These teachers work passionately to provide guidance to students not just to learn reading, writing and arithmetic but also to inspire students to be their higher self. Teachers notice when their students are hungry, sad, and tired.

Teachers help students believe, regardless of their circumstances, they can succeed. Teachers help students learn decision-making, develop confidence and evaluate risk taking.

Teachers provide encouragement. They give you nudges to take forward moving steps. And – sure, on occasion – they might give you a stern reality check that you need.

I had many teachers who made an impact from kindergarten, elementary school, high school, college and law school. But at a particularly challenging time in my life, one teacher stands out above all.

Mrs. Louanne Ward (Trueblood), my high school journalism teacher.

Her mentorship taught me not to be afraid to make bold decisions after being armed with the facts. When our high school administration tried to censor an article we were publishing in the high school paper, she helped me develop courage and passion for the truth and for making a difference.

Her confidence in me helped me to develop confidence in myself. And, for Mrs. Ward, her students weren’t a one-year project. Forty-two years later, Mrs. Ward still reminds me that she believes in me. She still gives me encouragement when I need it most.

Thanks to every teacher who has been a part of my life and the lives of our family. Teachers have inspired each of us and have the most impact on molding our world. So in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, #thankateacher!