Fern Des Jardins has served her community of St. Agatha in rural Maine for all her professional life. Fern has influenced the lives of hundreds of students in her classroom as well as education leaders across the state and country. In this remarkable interview, Fern speaks about the administrative flexibility and autonomy required for running a small district. She stresses the importance education has in the community at large and echoes our thinking that quality education is everybody’s business.
Fern offers profound wisdom for young people entering the teaching profession. Her advice to principals and other school leaders speaks to the reality that educators who understand the role of improvisation, adaptation, and a willingness to put in hard work reaps tremendous personal reward and professional satisfaction. Finally, Fern offers challenges to legislators encouraging them to think more creatively about accountability. Drawing on her many years as a member of the of the Maine Charter School Commission she urges lawmakers to spend more time understanding the quality of oversight and accountability for charter schools and encourage the autonomy and flexibility inherent among most of the charter schools. Fern urges us all to be lifelong learners and encourage new ways to approach education in the state.