DEBBIE RAINS: Creating Memorable Experiences

Educator-NovemberRetirement? That lasted all of six weeks for Debbie Rains, a veteran of 36 years in the classroom.

“I missed the kids,” said Rains, a gifted and talented teacher at East Jessamine Middle School.

Rains also teaches some gifted and talented students at Red Oak Elementary. “I missed the joy of working with children. I’m as enthusiastic now as I was when I started.”

That was in 1979 when Rains started at Jessamine Junior High as a special education teacher. Four years later, she helped open Warner Elementary in Nicholasville and
taught fourth and fifth graders for the next 23 years.

She retired, but then as she said, “God works in mysterious ways.”

“I never looked at the school district Web site for jobs, but one day I found myself clicking away and there it was… part-time science teacher at East Jessamine Middle.”

So back to the classroom she went. When she wanted more work, fate intervened again.

“I said a little prayer and the very next day the assistant superintendent called, saying that Red Oak Elementary needed a gifted and talented teacher.”

At East, she has sponsored the Beta Club, initiated the Jaguar Mentors and Ambassadors service programs and headed the National History Project. In the past two years, East has sent six students to national competition for the National History Day Project. Her students also won first place in a national contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

“Debbie provides engaging, hands-on projects for students and has the expertise and drive to give feedback so her students can create successful work,” Principal James Botts said.

For Rains, it’s all about creating memorable experiences for children, like the moment experienced by an eighth-grader on a school trip to Washington, D.C. Outside the Lincoln Memorial, a girl came up to Rains and said, “Where is it?” She meant the place where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Rains led her to the spot and took the girl’s photo.

“She said, ‘I can’t wait to show this to my grandma,’” Rains said. “For teachers, it’s moments like that, that keep the fire burning.”

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