“Whatever is important for the kids, that’s what I’ll do.” This is how Jeri Callahan, BD3’s Hero, approaches her work, which could explain how she came to be nominated. “Maybe it’s because I go above and beyond what I’m supposed to do,” she says. “I was raised like that. When you see what needs to be done, you step up.”
As the oldest of 6 children, Jeri raised her brothers when her mom passed away. She really has that nurturing nature, that when she started working at Tulsa ES in 2006, she came to see Tulsa ES as her home, and the school staff as her family.
The feeling was reciprocated by her co-workers who understood and supported her when her father was diagnosed with cancer, and she needed time to take care of him until he passed away 9 months after the diagnosis. She credits Dr. Powell as well for creating a school environment where a sense of family prevails, and where the kids feel like the staff is their family.
As an intervention aide, she helps teach phonics to small learning groups of students in grades K-3. It is a more effective way for them to recognize letters and the sounds, especially of every vowel. More importantly, she makes sure that every student has a device and that it is in good working condition.
But Jeri does more than this. She tells us: “When I see them in the morning, they say ” good morning”, and since I know almost all their names, I say, “Good morning, and then their name.” Some of them who know that it’s me, they might say “I need a hug today” and I give them a hug. And they say “thank you for giving me a hug today”.
“So, I don’t call this work, this is my life.”