Celebrating our Teachers

Since 1984, the National Parent Teacher Association designated the week of May 3 to 7 as National Teacher Appreciation Week. Teachers everywhere have spent the last year trying to keep students engaged despite bad internet connections or teaching through plexiglass and masks. Despite all the juggling, they persist and show up every day to teach and lead future generations. We cannot express enough how thankful we are for all the teachers who put our kids first before themselves.


Being a teacher is not just a profession, but a lifelong calling. It is very fitting that many teachers continue to serve children outside of the classroom as CASA volunteers. Check out two of our volunteers who were former educators.


LINDA ILNICK, Teacher & Guidance Counselor

Linda worked for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) for 44 years at Pleasure Ride Park High School. She spent 24 years as a high school English teacher and 20 years as a guidance counselor. She retired 12 years ago, but worked part-time for several years after.


Why did you become a CASA volunteer?

I retired almost 12 years ago. After that, I did work part-time for about 5 years. When I decided to retire, I started looking for something to do that would give me the same sense of fulfillment that teaching had given me.


What keeps you motivated to helping kids?

I actually don’t know what keeps me motivated. I think it’s the way God wired me. I have always felt that this was what I was born to do.


What skills from your teaching profession has helped you with being a CASA?

I think it has been helpful that I understand the way JCPS works and know the resources available through the schools. I remember in court one day that I was talking to the sheriff, and he asked me what I did. When I told him that I was a teacher for JCPS, he said, “Boy, I bet you have seen how kids have changed.” I said that society has changed and parents have changed. But kids are the same; they want someone to care, someone to listen, someone to believe in them!


Based on your experience as an educator, what do you think is the biggest hardship for CASA kids in school.

CASA kids lack the stability that gives them a sense of security. Constant change and uncertainty rob kids of the ability to concentrate at school, to trust others, etc. The older kids become angry, which causes them to make bad choices.

MARTHA MORRISON, Special Education Teacher

Martha was a special education teacher for 20 years and a substitute teacher for four years.


Why did you become a CASA volunteer?

I became a CASA volunteer after I retired because I wanted to keep working with kids. I taught special ed kids with both learning and behavior disorders.


What keeps you motivated to helping kids?

I love the kids I work with. Plus, I have been fortunate in having good social workers and awesome foster parents. Unlike teaching, where you often don’t know how your kids turn out, I plan to see this case through to the end so I know the outcome.


What skills from your teaching profession has helped you with being a CASA?

Having been an educator, I am able to navigate the school system fairly easily. Having taught special ed kids helps me to understand a lot of the issues that our kids face.


Based on your experience as an educator, what do you think is the biggest hardship for CASA kids in school.

I think the biggest hardship for our CASA kids in school is not having a good support system. They face so many hardships and they carry that with them to school.


To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, join a virtual information session held every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. www.casarr.og/casa101


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