If you are involved in Guilford County Schools (GCS) in any way, you probably know the name Mildred Poole. She has served in a leadership capacity in more than 11 local, state and national education-related organizations including the Guilford County PTA, the National PTA, Say Yes Guilford and Communities in Schools.

But closest to her heart is working one-on-one with students. For many years, in many different ways, Mildred has made sure children in our community have a voice. That they are seen. That they are heard. And most importantly, she says “that they know that they matter.”

Mildred knows the power that adults—especially teachers—can have in a child’s life. “My teachers were my heroes,” she says. As a young child, Mildred didn’t speak much at all. But two teachers in particular helped her find her voice. One noticed her talent for mathematics and encouraged her to push herself by giving her extra problems—this talent would lead her to be the first African-American long distance operator at BellSouth. Another teacher pulled her aside to point out her leadership skills—and that would lead her to . . . everything.

Now, her passion is to make sure all of the children in our community have someone in their life who sees possibility in them. In the end, this tirelessly hopeful advocate for children wants to encourage us all to make a difference—in whatever way we can.