Educators are lifelong learners and teachers who inspire generations, encourage curiosity, and awaken minds to new and old ideas. They are laboring difference makers and instill values in the minds of those seeking knowledge.
Read the story behind our Featured Dreamers here.
Anna Maddox is a special education teacher of emotionally handicapped children in Indianapolis. She has always wanted to be a teacher and realized early on in high school that she wanted to work in special education like her cousin. Anna is the exact picture of a teacher who exudes patience, compassion, and believes in her students’ capabilities — not their handicaps. She’s also a dreamer!
“My definition of a dreamer is someone who doesn’t have boundaries. If you want to make your dreams come true, you are going to have to cross some lines and break out of a few boxes. When I think of a dreamer, I think of someone who is willing to take risks and do whatever it takes to make the impossible possible.”
This past year Anna faced a tragic medical accident and underwent several surgeries, bed rest, and wasn’t able to work for several months. Through this difficult time, she was able to watch her family surround her with love and carry her through day by day with their support. While unable to move through life as she was used to, she was able to see how much the work she does defines who she is and lines up perfectly with her soul. In addition to being a teacher, Anna helps out with Every Dog Counts Rescue and has adopted two dogs who she absolutely adores. She has always had a thing for the underdog.
“Ever since I was little I always wanted to help people. I wanted to make things okay. Maybe as I grow older my dreams are more realistic. which I hate to say, but when I dream as an adult I think I dream of things I know I can accomplish. I’m not dreaming of my knight in shining armor; I’m dreaming of how I could change the world for my students.”
Anna dreams of being the champion for her students each and every day because, as Rita Pierson once said, “Every child needs a champion.” Because her students struggle outside of the classroom within the four walls of their homes, Anna dreams of safety, peace, and comfort for them so they can break the cycle of poverty and violence within their families. Ultimately, she wants to be someone her students can trust and make a difference in their lives long term.
“I want to do anything and everything I can to reach my dreams. I want to make sure I am going out of my way to show my love for my career, my students, my family and friends. After being sick for so long you really get to see the people who truly appreciate you and I just want to make sure that I am doing anything and everything to accomplish everything I want to do in this lifetime.”
Advice for dreamers: “Dream big and dream hard. If you are passionate about something make sure you get it done! The only way you are going to be happy is if you are working towards your dreams!”
Rebecca is a Personal Power Coach who helps women conquer feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and powerlessness and guides them along the path to becoming the hero of their life story. She is a wife to an amazing man and mama to a very curious little boy.
“A dreamer is someone who deeply believes that anything is possible. They have an abundance of hope and wonder and embrace each new day as an opportunity.”
There aren’t enough hours in the day for her to dream! She often struggles with the concept of time as a limitation. She is so excited to see her dreams come to fruition that waiting for them can be very frustrating for her. She also tends to overestimate how much she can accomplish in a single day.
“It's so important that I remind myself every day not to have unrealistic expectations or unreasonable demands for my time and myself.”
She consistently takes intentional steps forward, however small they may be. She’s a firm believer that your dreams become a reality when you believe that they can.
“I dream about creating a positive movement in the world. I love the idea that small deeds done with great love can create ripple effects that spread farther than we can imagine. I dream about guiding thousands of women to embrace their power and live big, courageous lives. I dream about the kind of man I'm raising my son to become and I am so eager to see the life path he chooses. I dream about what the future of my family may look like and all the amazing experiences we have yet to share together.”
She holds on tightly to the source of her dreams, her inner child. As a child, she wanted to be a hero. She dreamt of adventures and epic quests. Still today she dreams of adventure, and she shares them with her family and friends.
Advice for dreamers: “Don't let your dream stay in your mind. You are meant to achieve great things and your dreams show you what's possible, listen to them, act on them, and make them your reality.”
Ashley is a full-time teacher's assistant at an elementary school in St. Louis. Her husband has two years left of Chiropractic College, after which they plan on opening their own practice! She has two rescue pups -- a pit/boxer mix and a chow/german/unknown mix. She loves yoga, Doterra Essential Oils, ice cream, and spending time with her nephew.
“To me a dreamer is someone who does not see limits to all they can do. They are free. They believe in greater possibilities.”
Since Ashley became an adult, her dreams have become less self-serving. Her dreams are about who she can become and what she can do for others. She sees possibilities in the future and is always striving to do better, and be better. She believes the future is full of chances, and planning for the adventures ahead is exhilarating.
“My dream is to teach. I want to have my own classroom. Right now I am a TA and I love the experience that I am getting, but I want more. I want to be able to reach the kids on a deeper level and build stronger relationships with them and their families. I want to be a part of the community, shaping the minds, and building foundations for these children, who are our future. I believe every child has the ability to be a successful learner, just not in in the same way or at the same pace. My dream is to go beyond the classroom, teaching children more, letting them explore curiosity, and become dreamers themselves. I want to inspire children to go further than what they see, and strive for more.”
When Ashley doesn’t believe in herself, she loses motivation. At times, she’s unsure that she can achieve her dreams and even wonders if she deserves to. Nevertheless, she works hard to prove her abilities as a teacher. She strives to always be positive, even when others are grumbling and complaining. She asks for more chances to prove herself. She craves the responsibility and opportunities.
When asked what action she wants to take towards her dreams, she said: “I find the kids who are struggling the hardest, and I meet them where they are at. I work with them one on one and drive them with encouragement. I believe in my students, and I make sure they know I won't give up on them. I earn it.”
Advice for dreamers: “Work, work for it. Don't give up, and don't lose hope. Even if you get discouraged, don't quit working for it. EARN IT! You DESERVE IT; it will be WORTH IT.”
Carrie Kinnison is a music teacher turned maternity coach who has worked in various forms of education for years. Her husband, Charlie, is a music teacher, and their daughter Nora is four-months-old. She loves to travel! Asia has been her favorite place to see so far, but she’s excited to visit Europe and Rome next.
“I think a dreamer is someone who is inspired by insatiable curiosity and is able to envision a reality that doesn’t exist yet. And not only envision it but protect that vision so it doesn’t become damaged by outside influence or criticism.”
Carrie recalls how, as a child and teenager, she used to think of the future and just could NOT WAIT to find out what she was going to be, who she was going to marry, and what her life would look like. As a teenager, the only thing she wanted to do with her life was to be on Broadway. Since then, her dreams have definitely changed. Now her dreams revolve around building a simple and fulfilling life with her family, getting to support causes they care about, and of course lots and lots of TRAVEL.
“I call myself a dreamer because I let my curiosity guide me. It takes me places I never could have planned, and because of that, I have to have faith that the things I want to do are possible. Many times people don’t understand this or are even frightened by it. Sometimes I’m even frightened by it. But I have never let that stop me from chasing dreams."
Because she is so curious and has a lot of dreams, she wants to know everything about everything. Mostly, she wants to be able to do work that is fulfilling, spend time with her friends and family, and travel. She wants her children to impact the world in a positive way, and she wants to help other women enter motherhood knowing that they can be the kind of mother who raises children to impact the world in a positive way too.
“I think there’s a big difference between saying you believe in yourself, and ACTUALLY believing in yourself. There’s an almost physical shift that happens when you truly believe that the things you want so badly to happen WILL happen. Some call it the law of attraction, I call it the Holy Spirit. I am still working on this one!”
Carrie knows that the only way we ever lose is if we give up! She doesn’t know what exact strategies will get her where she needs to go, and she doesn’t know that she really needs to know.
“But as long as I don’t give up, I know I’ll make it.”
Advice for dreamers: “Dreaming is hard and overwhelming. It seems like there are a million things you need to accomplish. Just stick with one thing, do it the best you can, and only then, move onto the next thing. Too often we get frustrated with a task, so we switch gears. We check Facebook at the same time as we feed our baby and watch House of Cards on Netflix and listen to a business podcast (or maybe that’s just me). This is not only an inefficient strategy, but it can harm our most important relationships, because we are always busy, never having finished a task. Stick with one thing, do it, and move on. Done is always better than perfect!”
Find more from Carrie at www.carriekinnison.com
Laura is a wife, mom of two girls, and has four grandchildren. She is a former educator of 23-years with experience ranging from the classroom to school principal. Currently, she is an author, speaker and cheerleader of hope. She loves to read, enjoy time with her family and go to the beach. Also, Laura is a breast cancer survivor of eight years.
She started a blog that turned into a book and has been published on The Breast Cancer Site three times. She plans to start speaking publicly at events and local churches and is contacting other websites with similar visions to her own. Laura also has a few products that are coming soon to her online store so that she can continue to fill the world with hope -- one word at a time.
“A dreamer is someone who has hope in their heart and a vision in their head. When you put actions behind a vision, focus on hope and add action steps, the dream comes alive.”
As an adult, Laura finds herself being a little more cautious. That is where her faith in God steps in. Dreaming changed significantly for Laura after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In retrospect, her diagnosis was a turning point and a whole new aspect of dreaming. As she kept working and began to heal emotionally, she began to question her impact on the world and what she could do to help others.
“I call myself a dreamer because I have hope in my heart that I can make a change in the life of others and I have a vision.”
Her ultimate dream is to be a speaker at women's events and help millions of women understand that it's okay to advocate for yourself and question your doctor. She hopes that her book helps others get through their diagnosis or to help a friend/family member get through a diagnosis and truly be filled with hope.
Laura continued to blog and publish her book while caring for her three grandchildren. When her youngest daughter became pregnant after multiple miscarriages, Laura decided to stay with her daughter so that she could complete her education and follow her own dreams.
As most mamas understand, she puts her children's dreams above her own. Soon, Laura will return home to continue pursuing her own dreams.
“My time is right around the corner. I also feel that God's timing has intertwined with me taking care of these beautiful babies, and I believe that God, in the end, will allow my dreams to come to pass in His time to be most impactful.”
Advice for dreamers: “I would definitely tell dreamers to just do it or jump. Just put actions behind their dreams. Make a plan and then work your plan. Then, make adjustments as needed and keep going. Always know that God orders your footsteps and His timing is the best timing so if He put a dream in your heart, go for it.”