How long have you been in this job? For 12 years. I’ve been an employee at St. Paul for 22 years. Before becoming the DCE, I was a teacher in the preschool.
What’s a joy in it? I truly love working with children. When I moved into this position, I worried about finding the same kind of joy as I had in the previous job. As a preschool teacher, I was showered with love by my students each day. The students I work with now are far less demonstrative. I find joy in watching them live out their faith. A perfect example of this was this past weekend on a confirmation retreat. On the retreat were 24 confirmands, one of whom has special needs. Each child on the retreat went out of his or her way to be sure she was included in the many activities of the weekend. Witnessing this level of compassion from a group of 11- and 12-year-olds is pure joy.
Who’s in your family? I’m married to Everett Bailey, who is the general manager of Smokey Bones Restaurant. Everett and I have one daughter, Meredith McKenzie. She is married to Ian McKenzie, who is thankfully on his way home from Iraq. Meredith and Ian have been stationed in Germany for the past two years and will be there until August.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Grand Bay Ala., a small town in southwest Mobile County. As a child growing up in a town where the only outlets were church and school seemed painful, but now as an adult, I can see that it was a great place to be raised.
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What do you like to read? My United Methodist Women circle is currently reading the book “Have a New Husband by Friday” by Kevin Leman, Ph.D. It is very entertaining and a must-read for women who don’t begin to understand their husbands. The running joke in our home is that Friday never seems to come. My favorite book of the year and the one that has had the most profound impact on me is “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. A Bible study based on the book is coming out soon, and Ron Hall is coming to Columbus for an Open Door (Community House) benefit in January.
Who is a mentor, or someone you look up to? I am so fortunate to have many who guide and direct me daily. During my elementary school years my church choir director was someone who influenced me greatly. Martha Hyles was our pastor’s wife, a mother of four and a dedicated children’s choir director. She was passionate about teaching us to sing and passionate about sharing the love of God.