Mr. Kelly recently asked my world history class to define success. I replied that success is being able to do what you love. Based on this perspective, the Pardue family is a genuine example of success.
Mr. Pardue teaches French, and Mrs. Pardue teaches art to Upper Division students. They have two young daughters: six-year-old Grace and two-year-old Zoë. They also have a beloved rescue dog, Scout, who is a lab mix. The Pardue’s enjoy the simplicity and beauty of walking around the Casady Lake to the Primary Division as Grace rides her scooter. They treasure the experience of teaching together, as Mrs. Pardue said, “At the end of the day, how many people get to have such a lovely walk to their car after doing what they love with the people they love?”
Mrs. Pardue grew up in the small, rural town of Marshall, Illinois. As a child, she spent a lot of time daydreaming, playing in the mud, and looking out for her little brother. In high school, she was often found in the art room where she even filled out her college application. She loved her high school art teacher, and asked for her guidance for what she should put on her college application for her major. Her teacher noticed that she was both talented at art and was good with children, and suggested that she become an art teacher.
Mrs. Pardue was given a scholarship to study theater at Eastern Illinois University, and during her junior year, she thought she would become a radiologist, but she ultimately majored in art. It was after she started teaching that Mrs. Pardue knew that was what she wanted to do, and she feels blessed to have followed her high school art teacher’s advice. In addition to teaching five years at Casady, Mrs. Pardue has also taught in Illinois, Ethiopia, and India. Mrs. Pardue teaches drawing, computer graphics, painting, sculpture, mixed media, and ceramics; she enjoys creating paintings the most. Her favorite museum is Musée d’Orsay because she enjoys the space and the collections there.
One of Mrs. Pardue’s favorite teaching traditions is having her students create a drawing on the first day of school where she doesn’t give much instruction or critique. She takes those drawings, wraps them up, and writes on the outside of the package not to open until the last day of class. She loves to watch her students’ reactions when they open those packages to discover how much they’ve improved.
Mrs. Pardue believes the most important lesson she can teach her students is that it is okay to take risks, make mistakes, and to be willing to grow from them. When asked her favorite thing about teaching in the Upper Division, she replied, “My amazing students!” She truly cares for all the students at Casady because she invites every one of them to come to her art room, whether or not they are taking an art class.
Mr. And Mrs. Pardue began dating while teaching at the same school. They now have busy schedules with a young family and classes to prepare for and teach, so they enjoy the days they can have lunch together. Mrs. Pardue said, “It takes me back to when we started dating. I enjoy having that sweet time.” She shared that Mr. Pardue makes dinner every night.
Mr. Pardue grew up in Oklahoma City, and it was during lower school at Heritage Hall that he began learning French. As a child, he enjoyed playing outside and played a lot of sports. He attended OU and New York University, where French was one of his majors. He lived in France for two years, where his favorite hobby was rock climbing, and has returned to France seven times since then. I asked where he likes to visit while in France and he said, “I adore Paris–walking around the city, eating cheese and baguettes in parks, [and] going on the Métro. The south of France is also fantastic.”
Mr. Pardue has taught in New York City, France, Ethiopia, India, and Casady is the third school he has taught at with Mrs. Pardue. He said teaching with his wife “is a blessing because we get to see each other more often. We study, teach and work at a very blessed school. Having taught at three other schools, it is easy to say that Casady is a wonderful place. I love doing what I do.”
This school year, Mr. Pardue made the transition from the Middle Division to the Upper Division, where he enjoys teaching higher levels of French and being able to discuss more complicated topics. During his twelve years of teaching, his favorite teaching memories are laughing in class. When asked what he wants to be remembered for, Mr. Pardue thoughtfully replied, “As a teacher, that I always wanted what was best for my students. As a person, that I was a faithful disciple of Christ.”
The Pardue’s don’t make New Years resolutions, as Mr. Pardue said, “Each day is a good day for a resolution. Carpe Diem!” Getting to know Mr. And Mrs. Pardue, it is easy to see that Casady students are led by wonderful examples of success.