I met Regie in 2005 at a conference I was helping to organize. I was awestruck! I couldn’t believe I was having lunch with such an authority on reading and writing who had taught me so much! At the end of the day I didn’t want the conversation to end – I had so many more questions and there was so much more for me to learn from her. Regie suggested I write her a letter, and she handed me her card. Over the course of the years our paths crossed a few times at conferences where I was presenting. Even though she must meet hundreds of people every year, Regie always made me feel special.
A few weeks ago I happened upon a blog post written by Regie that included a video of her working with students. Watching her in that video brought about a sudden realization of all she had done for me. I could see myself in her words and actions. I was reminded that I approach the teaching of reading and writing and the delivery of professional development like I do because of her. I have had many mentors, especially in the area of writing, but I think Regie has influenced me the most.
I knew immediately that I wanted to write to her and express my thanks. I didn’t know if the letter would even reach her! After all, the address I had was more than ten years old. Still, I wrote. The moment I saw the envelope from her in the pile of mail I gathered yesterday, I was filled once again with the awe I felt at our first meeting.
The power of response..and mentors.