What's Happening in Character?

Heather Cazad

Recent Posts

Earth Day’s Butterfly Effect

Posted by Heather Cazad on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 @ 09:04 AM

Nowadays, we hear a lot in media about environmentalism and the effect humans have on the planet. We know more now. Thankfully, for the most part, we know better. Even still, it can be difficult to get started without being overwhelmed (I need to recycle this. Wait, should this be composted? What can I plant to best help the local wildlife? I live in an apartment and don’t know what to do…). I encourage everyone to try to do better by starting small. Because even the smallest effort can cause positive change.

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What I Owe to Nature

Posted by Heather Cazad on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

When I was three, I lived in the country where my mom owned 21 acres of woodsy hillside. I was too young to form many memories there before we moved, but of the ones that remain, all but two took place outside. I had a swing set that faced the hill, and on pretty days, I would swing and focus my attention to the hill with all of its untouched trees and weeds, on the hawks that soared overhead, on the sound of nature around me. I felt the warm breeze as I watched butterflies and bees pass by. That was my happy place, outside in my little clearing. 

When I was ten, I begged my dad to take me to the park every chance we got to walk the paths, see the squirrels and traverse the creeks and streams. We played games and talked, but mostly, we blazed our own trails through the woods in revered silence. As we walked, we listened to the frogs and the echo of twigs beneath our feet.

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Topics: earth day

Make the World Better at the 2016 National Forum

Posted by Heather Cazad on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 @ 07:01 AM

A Message from Heather Cazad, Director of Operations:

During this National Forum in our capital city only a few weeks before a presidential election, we will discuss civic responsibility, creating good citizenship and building leadership in our communities. It’s up to us to make the world better, and we can do that by first developing better people. That’s why we’ve chosen the theme... Educate, Inspire, Empower: Building Productive and Caring Citizens.

With national leadership on our minds, let’s work on helping our students become engaged citizens. Not only are our youth the leaders of tomorrow, we can help encourage them to lead today.

Every fall for the past twenty-two years, educators, researchers, authors, and even students have come together in the interest of improving schools with character education to create a brighter future.

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Topics: National Forum

A Special Message from your Favorite Event Planner, Heather Cazad

Posted by Heather Cazad on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 @ 09:09 AM

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been working on making the 2015 National Forum on Character Education inspiring, educational, and transformative since we signed the hotel contract in February 2014. Although I know with any event, perfection is out of reach, I have made it my personal goal to make this Forum, my third, Character.org’s most successful yet.

But my idea of success is measured by more than number of attendees. I want every teacher who joins us in Atlanta this fall to walk away not only knowing s/he can instigate real change but also having the tools to do so. I want this large group of caring and determined educators to leave with that spark of hope for the future that I get every time I talk to a teacher at a School of Character.

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Topics: #Character2015

Character.org Staff Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week

Posted by Heather Cazad on Mon, May 4, 2015 @ 08:05 AM

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Character.org staff took time to reflect on the some of their favorite teachers.

Becky: Mrs. Frazier, my fifth grade teacher, really stands out in my memory of favorites. I recall coming in from recess after lunch every day. Everyone was hot and fired up from activity until she started to read to us. Every day another chapter. We got quiet and attentive. It seemed strange to be read to as most of us were already good readers and would have said we were too old for it, but she enticed us all with great books. Not only did she read wonderful works, she introduced me to books I would have never picked up on my own. It wasn't just the literary arts. I recall our debates on the civil war, the perspective taking, the research, the passion we brought to the activity. And math lessons that really developed understanding. Just thinking about my fifth grade year makes me smile.

Iris: As a very quiet student in the recently integrated school zone of Rock Creek Park, I was often ignored by other students and even some teachers. However, my middle school Algebra 1 teacher was different. She noticed me, learned my name and treated me with respect. In that environment, I thrived. My grades were excellent, and I felt gratified. Though sometime over the many years since middle school, I have forgotten her name, I still remember exactly what she looked like and how appreciative I felt being in her classroom.


 Dave: A teacher that particularly stands out was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Maniscalco. She lived in my neighborhood in the Houston suburbs. It was a different world then, and I used to walk to the store with my little red wagon every day during the summer following my first grade. Probably twice a week, I would modify my walk to pass by Mrs Maniscalco's street. I’d ring her doorbell and wait patiently until she answered. Most days, she invited me inside to see how my summer was going - and read with me.  Before long, I started to bring my own books in the wagon. She always read with me. Years later, I reflect on how intrusive my visits must have been.  I'm married to an educator, and I know how precious summer break is. But Mrs. Maniscalco never made me feel unwelcome. She always seemed genuinely happy to see me. I've never forgotten her, or the times we read together that summer.

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Topics: Teacher Appreciation