Mary Turney

 Coolidge elementary was a great experience for me.I began teaching special ed and that turned into teaching children on the autism spectrum.Coolidge was wonderful, positive, and joyful. The best experience. It was very supportive. Mr. Bracy was a wonderful principal. We were a team and we worked together as a team. I learned so much, I learned from my teacher peers and I learned as I went along, and I learned from Mr. Bracy. He had such a big heart and he would always say “Close your door and do what you do best, and that’s teaching children.”I remember Christmas and Mr. Bracy would invite teachers to dinner .We were just united. Working with my students and my team.My son passed away, the staff and Mr. Bracey were so supportive. They would bring me food and they were just great. They would allow me cry in the office and then I could go back to my classroom. It was just that type of environment. I had a special ed team. I just enjoyed going to work. I mean I wanted to be there, I wanted to influence them, and I just had a great team. And it was a wonderful environment. It was a pretty positive experience for me.I was sad [When Coolidge shut down]. I was really sad. And it just hast been the same. At that time, a lot of teachers just retired. These teachers were the best. They were the best of the best. Since Coolidge, I've been at 2 other school and it's just hasn’t been the same. The school would always be rated above and beyond and that was because of Mr. Bracy. He just cared and that made all the difference. When I think about all the years that I've been teaching, if I think of a time and a place that impacted me the most it would be Coolidge and I attribute that to Mr. Bracy. I'm a good teacher and it's because of Mr. Bracy.  He would always have kids in the office, and it wasn’t because they were in trouble it was just because they liked him, and he would give them jolly ranchers. It was a domino effect and it was because of him. I love my students and I care for them and it was because that’s what Mr. Bracy expected of me and everyone else who worked there.My fondest memory of Coolidge was I had a little boy that I worked with and he was on the autism spectrum and I had him for maybe 6 years. He was just a special special kid. Now he's 17 years old and he came back to see me. He had moved to Texas, and they came back to see me. And they wanted to do that because it was such a special and good experience. I think of Coolidge when I think of that.Oh, I think it's [Coolidge Park Apartments] wonderful. I think it’s a piece of history. When I used to drive by, it made me kind of sad. And for them to be keeping the building, I think it's wonderful. I love that you are putting something together to honor Coolidge School. It really was the BEST place to work! Mr. Bracy would be so proud to know this. He loved this school.