Peggie Jelks, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, is retiring after 42 years as an educator - 29 of those spent teaching, encouraging, supporting, and inspiring students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. A retirement reception celebrating her career was held Aug. 13.
Jelks- love of ULM is evident in the many and varied activities of which she has been a part. Her work covered a list of services, from director of Campus Kids to the many university committees - with the Ace's Adventures Activity Book Committee being her last. She served as department head of Curriculum and Instruction for 11 years, but felt called to return to her first love, which is teaching.
Over the years she has received many awards and honors, including a Service to Children Award, PK 16+ Professional Development School Service Award, and the Mary Walker Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education. According to Jelks, the most significant honors to her are the wonderful thank you notes she gets from students.
She has served in a variety of professional positions. Her elementary career started as a fifth grade teacher and led to experiences teaching sixth grade. She was co-director of a pre-school setting in Indiana, taught at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., then moved to Monroe. Jelks remained here for three years, left to teach at Howard University in Washington, D. C., but found after two years there, that her heart and most rewarding service was truly in Louisiana.
Her past years in Monroe have provided opportunities for her to serve not only the university, but the community as well. Locally, she has worked with many organizations, including the Children's Coalition, School Board for Little Flower Academy, Board of Directors' YWCA and Monroe Symphony Orchestra, the Boys and Girls Club, Head Start Programs, Silver Waters Council of Girl Scouts, and the Twin City Ballet Company.
She has served as the Pronouncer for the Spelling Bee, and on the Planning Committee for several schools, including Our Lady of Fatima, Cypress Point University School and J. S. Clark Magnet. She served as celebrity reader for numerous schools and has developed educational materials for the Minority Arts Coalition and for the state and national Association of General Contractors.
Her professional service includes the local, regional, national, and international levels. Local public and private schools, day care and other entities have been recipients of her expertise in education through her work on planning committees, in-service presentations, judging for Teacher of the Year, Student of the year, social studies and science fairs. She also served on school improvement committees, assessment of federal programs, search committees, educational forums and many other venues, excluding her service at the state level.
One ongoing activity in Louisiana is Prime Time: Family Reading Time, for which she serves as scholar/storyteller. This led to her being chosen as one of five people to receive an award presented by Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. For Jelks this was an honor, especially with for the resulting invitation to the Governor's Mansion.
Nationally and internationally, she has made presentations in Hawaii, Washington, D. C., Georgia, and California to name a few states; evaluated grants for the National Science Foundation; and worked with LSU on a project related to women in instructional technology. While living and working in Europe, she served as a cultural exchange teacher between Frankfurt Elementary, where she taught fourth grade, and Nied Primary School, Germany. One highlight of her career was being invited to an Early Childhood Round Table at Oxford University, in Oxford, England, where she was selected as leader for a research discussion on language development. She has since been re-invited several times.
Her retirement homes will be Monroe, Los Angeles, and Shreveport, but the ULM Curriculum and Instruction Department and its head, Gary Stringer, will always know where to she is located.