This month’s National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month is Sherry Purdy from Cane Bay High School in Summerville, SC. Nominator Katherine Nobles writes: “Even during online schooling, Purdy makes sure that everyone is having fun and feels included. She works so hard to make her class not only educational but a fun and safe space. She even continues to greet students at the door on Fridays for what is now ‘foot bump Friday.’ She inspires more people than she realizes.”

How long have you been involved with Renaissance?

8 years.

What’s a favorite Renaissance moment for you?

My favorite moment is when we had to come up with something that promoted school spirit in a socially distanced world. We would normally do “fist-bump” Fridays, but instead we made them “foot-bump” Fridays. We wear our masks, hold our signs, and play our music. The method may be different, but the message is still strong. We are here for each other no matter what. Love my Cobra Nation!

How has Renaissance impacted your school’s culture?

It has impacted how we celebrate one another and how we celebrate our students. Our admin implemented the Cobra Kudos a few years ago. This is where students and staffulty members can fill out a form giving a “shout-out” to a fellow student, teacher, and/or co-worker. After these forms are filled out, there is an email blast to the staffulty members that received said shout-out and a printed copy and treat for the students that received the shout-out. This is a tangible way that we are recognized and I look forward to reading those shout-outs every Monday.

Renaissance has also helped our overall school spirit. This year we were able to adopt the 12 days of Christmas and get students involved. Even if you were a “blended student” you could show your school spirit and feel connected to your “face-to-face” peers. It was a wonderful way to end the semester.

How has Renaissance affected you personally?

It has made me a better teacher, mother, friend, and co-worker. Renaissance is about positive change and positive momentum. I was introduced to Renaissance by my best friend, Debra Summers. Through her mentoring and attending Jostens Renaissance conferences, I was able to use what I learned in and out of the classroom. I look for the good. I see the possibilities. I have been able to connect to those students that seemed “unreachable.” By using the tools and tips of Renaissance, those “unreachable” kids have become our Renaissance rock-stars.

I have also developed life-long friendships with the students that joined Renaissance. I make sure we are in contact after high school. Those kids are moving mountains and making their mark. Because of their achievements and their motivation, I am able to motivate myself. The beauty of Renaissance is that is does not end after they turn that tassel. It is only the beginning.

What advice would you give to someone just starting with Renaissance?

Start small. Pick one or two things that you want to implement each year. Do them well. Do not overwhelm yourself with ALL of the cool things you will learn through conferences and training sessions through Renaissance. There are so many amazing ideas. Pick one or two that you know you can implement and will have the biggest impact on your staffulty/student population, and do them well.

Ms. Purdy will receive a shirt and a lapel pin to recognize her achievement.

To nominate someone in your school for the National Renaissance Staffulty of the Month honor, click here

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