EDUCATORS JAMI AND CHAD BLAIN ARE THANKFUL THAT THEY HAVE HAD GREAT ROLE MODELS IN THEIR LIVES WHO HAVE POSITIVELY INFLUENCED THEIR CAREERS
Generally, many factors contribute to the pursuit of a particular career. You might pursue medicine because you are good at science (aptitude). You might strive to be an attorney because you love to debate (enjoyment). But ask any educator, and you’re likely to learn that their No. 1 reason for becoming a teacher or administrator is not a what but a who. Chad and Jami Blain, who have a cumulative 55 years in education, are no different.
“My dad was such an influence on my education career,” Chad said of his father, who served as an agriculture teacher in Greenville, Texas. The Blains moved to Liberty-Eylau in 1981 when Chad’s father accepted a job as vocational director, eventually moving up through the LE system to become superintendent. “I was just a little kid going around to state fairs, and I could just see how much my dad loved it, the passion he had for it, the relationships he developed with those kids, and how much they meant to him,” he recalled. “I saw it as a little boy and from a young age knew I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
“Both of Chad’s parents worked at the school,” Jami, who also attended Liberty-Eylau, added; Chad’s mother was an administrative secretary. “We had the best teachers and role models over the years. They really cared for us all. They inspired everyone. We had a close bond not only with our classmates but also with our teachers and administrators.” In particular, Jami was close to her high school journalism teacher, Patty Davis. After graduation, Jami moved to Dallas to live with a friend while she became financially stable. “Patty Davis came down there in her dad’s truck and got all of my stuff and brought me back to Texarkana so I could go to college,” Jami recounted. “I lived with her until I got on my feet. If it weren’t for people like that supporting us, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. We had good examples.”
Though they graduated high school together, it wasn’t until their 10-year class reunion that they fell in love. After reconnecting, they were married within months. They’ve now been together for 20 years and boast five children (two from Chad’s previous marriage) and three grandchildren.
Today, Chad serves as the principal of Pleasant Grove Elementary School, where he has worked for 21 years. “You just don’t see that anymore,” he said, referring to his long tenure at one school. “I just love Pleasant Grove—the community and the people I’ve worked for.” While “climbing the ladder” is standard practice in K-12 leadership, Chad currently has no desire to change jobs. “It’s not that I don’t have ambitions,” he explained. “I just love where I am. We’ve both found something that we really love to do.”
Jami is a kindergarten teacher who, after 21 years at Liberty-Eylau, is readying herself for a move to Waggoner Creek Elementary School. “I’m excited about moving to TISD because I know that, even though I’ve taught for 25 years, I’m going to learn so much,” Jami said. “You learn from new teachers, even from student teachers. You learn so much from different people and different places. We’re always learners.”
Chad and Jami both have lots of school spirit, though their pride isn’t exclusive to any one district. “It’s not about districts,” Chad said. “It’s just about helping kids and the entire community.” Soon they will have worn the colors of four Texarkana area school systems (Chad once worked at New Boston ISD).
Looking ahead, Chad and Jami are optimistic about what is in store for Texarkana students and educators. “LE and PG building new elementary campuses is so exciting for the communities,” Jami said.
“It’s also great that Texas teachers across the board are likely to get raises in the upcoming year,” Chad added, referring to House Bill 3, which unanimously passed in the state legislature and is set to provide a significant funding increase for teacher salaries.
“The kids are important, but it’s also important to take care of the people you work with,” he said. “We [at Pleasant Grove Elementary School] don’t have a high turnover rate; that’s important to me. We have a great staff, which makes my job easier. I just want every year to be better than the last—largely through professional development, training, and [applying what we’ve learned].”
Jami’s goals align with Chad’s—she too takes a proactive approach to growing as an educator. She is currently considering graduate school in order to become an even better teacher.
Beyond their vocations, Chad and Jami spend their time taking care of their large family—and doing little else. “We’re not really exciting people; we just go to work and do what we do,” Chad said.
Jami agreed. “I’ve known many people who’ll ask, ‘How many more years do you and Chad have [until you can retire]?’” she said. “We might have just a few more years until we could retire, but we don’t think about it like that. This is what we love to do. We do it because we love it, and we’re happy.”