Festus R-VI Hall of Fame Inductees - Nancy M. Polette
Nancy McCaleb Polette was born in 1930 to Alice and Willard McCaleb. Her father was a lawyer while her mother worked as a librarian.
In 1938, the McCaleb family moved to Festus where Nancy attended Festus Public Schools and graduated from Festus High School in 1948. Nancy credits her sixth grade teacher for providing her a deep appreciation for literature, which would become a focal point in her entire life and career.
During high school, Nancy was a member of the Band. Nancy played the cymbals during marching season and the cello during concert season. In addition to her musical interests, Nancy served as editor of the Festus High School student newspaper.
After graduation, Nancy attended William Woods University in Fulton, MO where she attained an Associate of Arts degree in 1950. Later in her career, Nancy would earn a degree in Education from Washington University, along with a graduate degree from Southern Illinois University.
Nancy began her first teaching job in 1950 at the age of twenty where she had the task of teaching 7th and 8th grade students with an enrollment of 55, earning a salary of $100 per month. Nancy worked in the Normandy School District for one year and the Pattonville School District for twenty-five years.
From 1970 – 1979, Nancy served as Director of Elementary Libraries for the Pattonville School District. During this time, Nancy established fifteen school libraries. Setting up libraries in schools was a new idea and there was little research or assistance available. Thus, Nancy became a pioneer in the area of establishing school libraries and developing resources to assist teachers on how to effectively utilize the library to improve academic achievement. As a result, Nancy became recognized as an expert in the field of elementary education.
At the same time, Nancy began to blend her love for literature with her passion for helping all students learn. In 1972, Scarecrow Press published Nancy’s first book on the topic of ‘Research Skills for Elementary and Middle School Students. Following publication, Nancy became recognized as a National Consultant in the areas of Reading, Writing, and Research for Grades K – 8. Since her first publication in 1972, Nancy has authored more than 160 professional publications for educators along with twelve children’s books. In 2005, her book “Gifted or Goof-Off: Fact and Fiction of the Famous” received the nationally prestigious Legacy Award for the best book published related to Gifted Education.
A few of Nancy’s children’s books include: The Little Old Woman and the Hungry Cat; The Hole By The Apple Tree; The Fighter Wore a Skirt; Pocahontas; Flying With Mother Goose; Grandma’s Patchy Pocket; and Wanted! The Limping Lady. A sampling of her more than 160 professional publications for educators include: Literature Lures; Perfect Patterns for Reporting Fact and Fiction; School Librarian’s Grab Bag; Improvisation and Theatre Games with Children’s Literature; Genuine Geniuses: A Gallery of Gifted; Teaching Thinking Skills with Fairy Tales and Fantasy and Mysteries in the Classroom; Most all of her publications are available via the world wide web and at bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.
Nancy continues to be a highly sought after speaker in high demand for National and State conferences of Library Media, Gifted, and Reading educators. Since 1972, Nancy has logged more than two million miles traveling across North America to share her expertise with educators. Since 1990, she has been Professor Emeritus/Adjunct professor for Lindenwood University.
Nancy has three children, 7 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. Her family is completed by her husband Paul to whom she has been married for sixty years.
For more information, visit Mrs. Polette’s website: nancypolette.com