EDMOND — The classroom is a sacred place for three generations of one Edmond teaching family.
Just ask Margaret Self, her daughter Shelly Anderson and granddaughter Taylor Anderson. Each is connected to Edmond Public Schools and agrees teaching is a demanding profession and not high on the pay scale. Yet none would dream of doing anything else.
“I wouldn't have changed a thing,” said Self, who retired from the school district in the 1990s after a career that spanned nearly three decades. The last 20 were with Edmond schools, mostly at then-North Mid-High and the ninth-grade level. She still dabbles in the field, tutoring and, on occasion, lending a hand in Shelly Anderson's classroom.
Shelly Anderson teaches first grade at Northern Hills Elementary. She's in her 27th year of teaching, mostly in Edmond.
“I think for me, it is always rewarding to find out later that a former student has done real well, such as becoming a valedictorian,” she said.
Taylor Anderson is in her second month of teaching fifth grade at Russell Dougherty Elementary.
“I remember each of my teachers growing up and the impact they had with me,” she said. “This is a good profession, and I really wanted to be a part of it.”
Having three generations of teachers in one district is somewhat rare, said Susan Parks-Schlepp, the district's director of public information.
“I know there are other mother and daughters, just not sure about three generations,” she said. “It is great to see how they value education and wanted to be teachers.”
Watching and learning
Teaching is ingrained in the family. Self's parents both were teachers, and other members of the extended family have had jobs in the classroom. Shelly Anderson grew up watching her mother grade papers at home.
Self remembers it too.
“Even if I went to a game at OSU, I'd bring papers,” she said of Oklahoma State University athletic events.
Another relative makes it his mission to teach college men. Margaret Self's son, Bill Self, is head men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas. He's entering his 11th season at the helm.
The best season was in 2008 when his Jayhawks won the men's NCAA championship. His mom, sister Shelly Anderson and niece Taylor Anderson all were in San Antonio to watch KU win it all.
“It was a perfect day,” Shelly Anderson said. “It was perfect weather and a perfect ending to a game.”
All three greeted Bill shortly after the overtime victory over Memphis. Margaret Self called it a “surreal experience” watching the former Memorial basketball player coach the team to the coveted title.
“Bill does well because he cares a lot about the players and their families,” Shelly Anderson said.
“One thing the public might not appreciate is that we really have the interests of the children as the top priority. We really do,” Margaret Self said.
Shelly Anderson and Taylor Anderson also went to Memorial High School, with Taylor Anderson a star basketball player for the Lady Bulldogs.
Taylor's entry into education was a mild surprise to her mother.
“It was my other daughter Morgan who grew up playing school,” she recalled. “I had thought she was going to be a teacher and not Taylor. Now Taylor is teaching and Morgan is a junior in college majoring in business.”