The child development specialist loves pulling for the Wolfpack and traveling, and now, finally being able to have her personal items monogrammed.
Q: Was it inevitable for you to become involved in education, now serving as the child development specialist for the East Wake Education Foundation, since both of your parents held academic positions?
“We moved to Zebulon when I was 3monthsold, coming from Beulaville. My dad (Thomas Speller) was called to Zebulon High as the football coach and athletic director. He then went on to become assistant principal at East Wake Middle and retired there. My mom (Brenda Speller) also taught at Zebulon High and then she taught at Zebulon Middle.”
Q: Was it tough having your parents as your teacher?
“Even though I did go to those schools, oddly enough, I did not have them as my teacher but I did have to hear about it though. It was either, ‘oh, you don’t have to do that because of who your parents are’ or ‘you really need to watch it or I’m going to tell your parents.’ I felt like there was always someone watching me. But it also made it nice having my parents close by – in case I ever needed anything.”
Q: For someone who is not familiar with the East Wake Education Foundation, how do you explain the importance of its purpose?
“Our main goal is to make every child in eastern Wake healthy, happy and ready to learn – that in a nutshell is what we do. But more specifically, our main goal is to have the children in eastern Wake prepared for kindergarten. But we work with children from birth-5 – and we also work with their parents, and that includes a wide variety of services.”
Q: What if new parents walk in your door, harried and not knowing what to do with their newborn child? Do you provide help in those frustrated times?
“Of course. We are here – ready to help in anyway we can. And what also makes it great is that we are a non-profit and free of charge. It would be nice if babies came with instructional booklets but they do not.”
Q: And you also go into the schools, correct?
“I go into our local elementary schools and help the kindergarten-third grade teachers with reading skills.”
Q: When you step away from the foundation and the schools, what interests do you have?
“I love to travel. And I love going to N.C. State football games and tailgating.”
Q: Are you a State graduate?
“No, I graduated from Barton but I have always been a State fan. My dad and my sister went to Carolina and I just love pulling against them – a little bit of sibling rivalry I suppose – just one more thing for us to fight about (laughing).”
Q: What has been your favorite travel destination?
“I love going to New York and I took a trip to Arizona and explored the desert but I would have to say my favorite trip was a cruise I took to the Bahamas to celebrate my 40th birthday. It was great. It was 11 of my closest friends and me. They made the trip memorable. And I got to swim with the dolphins.”
Q: You are also involved with your church, Zebulon Baptist. To what do you attribute your desire to serve?
“I grew up attending Zebulon Baptist – I have been there my whole life. I enjoy the church and the close family atmosphere we have. I teach Sunday School, I direct the children’s choir and I am a deacon. I was also chairman of the deacons at one time.”
Q: What would people be surprised to find out about you?
“Well, I recently gave myself a middle name – really a middle initial. I always wanted one. When I was born, my parents did not give me a middle name. I asked my mom one time why I didn’t have a middle name and she said that when you get married, you lose your middle name and she figured I would be married one day. I told her she jinxed me because I never got married (laughing). I have always wanted to monogram things but I wasn’t able to because I didn’t have a middle name.”
Q: Well – what name or initial did you pick?
“N. It stands for ‘no middle name.’ Now I can get things monogrammed.”
Q: You mentioned a sister – did your parents give her a middle name?
“No, she didn’t get a middle name either. But her name is Loucretia. She was named after a great-grandma. And I told her with a name like that, you don’t need a middle name (laughing).”
Correspondent Dena Coward