Lydia Virginia Lind Poe – M. Ed., 1961; Ed. S., 1971
Lydia Virginia Lind Poe
Ed. S. 1971 ; Elementary Education
When I think of my education at Southwestern , I think in terms of the people there who influenced my life. The first person I remember in education at Southwestern was Dean Maxim D. Doucet. Because my undergraduate degree was from Beloit College, Beloit, WI, Dean Doucet had to evaluate my transcript to determine what I needed to certify to teach in Louisiana. What a wonderfully understanding, intelligent, helpful man he was! My program at Beloit was very, very different from Southwestern’s; yet, Dean Doucet could readily equate what I had completed at Beloit to Louisiana state requirements. He agreed that I could take many of the needed courses on the graduate level. After certifying, I began substituting in the parish schools when I wasn’t caring for my two young sons.
I was in no hurry to complete my master’s degree and kept putting it off. One day my husband (Harold W. Poe) came home and said that Dean Robert May and he had worked out a program that would allow me to finish my masters in a relatively short period of time. So, I went to see Dean May who gently persuaded me to complete my degree. During pursuit of this degree, I was privileged to be able to take classes with Dr. Walter Robinette, Mrs. Walter Robinette (Gladys Hoffpauir when I started my degree), Dr. Leon Beasley, Ms. Vesta Bourgeois, Dr. Frank Flowers, Dr. Macgruder Drake, and Dr. Ben Kaplan. I also had given birth to a third son during this time, so it was sometimes very hectic. When I began, it was Southwestern Louisiana Institute; however, when I received my masters degree, it was from the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
After completing the masters degree, my family moved to Tallahassee, FL where we lived while my husband worked on his Ph.D. I taught in Tallahassee for three years, and for two of those years, I had student teachers from Florida State University. In 1964, we moved back to Lafayette and I began substituting in the parish public schools including the Hamilton Laboratory School. One day my husband informed me he had been interviewed by Dean Howard Turner concerning my teaching full-time at the Hamilton Laboratory School. Dean Turner asked my husband if it was okay with him if I went to work teaching there. This annoyed me, but my husband told Dean Turner he wasn’t happy about it but to ask me if I wanted to teach at Hamilton on a regular basis. After talking with Dean Turner, who on two or three occasions had sat in back of the classroom when I was substituting at Hamilton, I agreed to teach second grade full-time. The principal at Hamilton, Mr. Nelson Dozier, was always supportive and conveyed to his teachers that the needs of the children came first when difficult decisions had to be made. I liked having the students from Southwestern visit the classroom, although 15 in the room at one time was too many.
After a few years at Hamilton, I resigned that teaching position which I had really enjoyed, to be home with our three sons. Several months later, I saw Bruce Holmes who had taught at Hamilton and was now teaching at Southwestern, and he informed me that Dr. Robinette, who was Head of the Education Department, was looking for someone to teach language arts and asked would I be interested. I said “yes”; Dr. Robinette called shortly after that, and I accepted part-time teaching. A semester later, I was asked to teach full-time. By this time, my boys were doing well, and I agreed to do this. I have been at Southwestern ever since.
In the early years of teaching at USL, I worked on my Ed.S and was particularly encouraged to do so by the Robinettes, Dr. Beasley, and Dr. Frances Zink. Professor Roy D. Murphy, Head of the Speech Department, assigned my husband, a professor in speech and theater, to his classes after I had scheduled my classes so that my husband could babysit with our children while I was in class. With this kind of help and encouragement, I was able to complete my Ed.S. Some time after that, Dean Bud Ducharme and Mary Ducharme enlisted my help with the education honor society, Kappa Delta Pi. In 1980/81, when Mary resigned as Counselor, I became Counselor and am still serving in that capacity. In 1995, our Kappa Delta Pi chapter, Delta Iota, won the highest award given to chapters. We won the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award.
After the Ed. S., I taught for several years before getting my Ed.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1983. In 1986 until 1991, I served as Head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. I resigned in 1991 to return to the university classroom where my main interests have always been. I have particularly enjoyed working with the USL students and children in the USL Reading Clinic and working with student teachers.
All along the way, my professional activities and accomplishments at USL are mainly because of the people with whom I have studied and worked. To those that have given me so much help and support, I wish to express my gratitude.