Our guide was Briana Zavadil White, and to be honest, her leadership was every bit as impressive as the items we saw. We talked endlessly about the varied strategies she used in each of the exhibits where we stopped to draw us into the experience and to help us see and process what we never would have without such an excellent guide. Along the way we saw portraits of many famous people, including:
(Maya Angelou and L.L. Cool J)
(Landsdowne Washington and Lincoln life masks)
(President Kennedy and President Reagan)
(President Clinton and President Bush)
(George Washington Carver and Thurgood Marshall)
A trip back to the Smithsonian Castle took us to lunch and scintillating conversation as we shared with each other our experiences from the various museums. Each table picked a representative to share with the entire group the major takeaways, and I was happy to speak for our table, which had produced brilliant ideas for taking our experiences back to the classroom.
(Approved by Secret Service and then stepping into history)
(With John Mastroianni-Connecticut and Paul Miura-Northern Mariana Islands; with Deb Widmer-Ohio)
I will conclude with what was a shot of me clowning around before Dr. Biden came out to speak to us. I tweeted this one with the caption that I was speaking on education policy and included the line "I wish!" The simple fact is that anyone can make a difference. Our experiences at the Smithsonian reminded us of the extraordinary accomplishments of ordinary people. Dr. Biden, a woman of renown and authority, revealed a genuine, caring heart that was utterly down to earth. The picture of me at the podium may tell the story of a guy cutting up, or it could depict a teacher from a small Indiana town who has been blessed to represent the thousands of fantastic teachers across the Hoosier state. You be the judge.