Thursday, March 19, 2009


Job changes are usually big news, and this one was really exciting! In February, Carley wrapped up her previous job as the director of El Centro and started a new job as the assistant director at the Mississippi Geographic Alliance.

MGA is a network of teachers and geographers who work to promote geography education in the state of Mississippi and to increase the scope and amount of geography content in K-12 education. The organization receives funding and guidance from National Geographic, publishers of one of the finest magazines on the planet, among other things.

MGA is located in the Public Policy Leadership Department of the Lott Leadership Institute (named after the famous Republican senator from Mississippi) at University of Mississippi. Carley is excited to be working on the Ole Miss campus, the alma mater of so many of her friends and family.

Ole Miss is in the town of Oxford (pictured above), about 50 minutes west of our home in Tupelo, which is why we've had our house on the market since early February. So far the commute has been alright, but far from convenient for either of us, and we'll both be more relaxed after we relocate to Oxford. Oxford is a beautiful town with lots more to do for folks like us than Tupelo offers, including a relatively vibrant music scene.

MGA, which has been around for more than 20 years, is currently in a period of resurgence and expansion, and Carley was hired, in part, to assist the Executive Director with organizational development initiatives and to identify and develop strategic partnerships.

One of her tasks will be to assist with the professional development workshops that MGA provides to current and prospective teachers. She's already been busy with this facet of her job, as this recent pre-service workshop (above) had her spending a Friday and Saturday in Jackson (the state capitol). This workshop fell on the first week of her job, and it was a great opportunity to meet several of MGA's "teacher consultants," many of whom have been with MGA since its inception.

Far more exciting, however, was her recent business trip to the nation's capitol.

The destination was the National Geographic headquarters (pictured above; the building in the reflection is also part of National Geographic) for the annual Alliance Network conference.

Much of her time was spent in long sessions and conferences with fellow geography advocates (most of whom are university professors), swapping strategies and discussing the National Geographic Education Foundation's ambitious new goal to scale-up geographic education in the country.

However, she did get out for some excitement, lobbying on Capitol Hill for the Teaching Geography is Fundamental act (TGIF, HR1240, S?). In the photo above, she and her boss David (3rd from left)and her National Geographic liasion Allison (far right) met with Travis Childers (2nd from left), the new Democratic U.S. representative for Mississippi's 1st congressional district. The meeting was a success, by the way, as Childers signed on as a co-sponsor of the legislation. Mississippi's Thad Cochran is expected to introduce the legislation in the Senate (along with Senator Chris Dodd) any day now.

Carley couldn't stop chuckling after seeing the Senate Hair Care Salon (above) in one of the tunnels below the Senate office buildings and had to go back to snap a photo before she left.

Needless to say, it's been an interesting and exciting first month for Carley at her new job, and we're pretty sure there will be plenty more interesting things to report in the future, including a September conference in Puerto Rico that Rob is hoping to join in on.


What's Rob doing at work these days?

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