Education Blog

What Does My Mirror Reveal?

2 adults and 2 children on a front porch

Kellie Blanden and family Photo courtesy Kellie Blanden

Depending on the day, my mirror can reveal various things to me. On good days, when I look in the mirror I see: happiness, beauty, growth, strength, mommy, wife, educator, volunteer, mentor, leader, cheerleader, and friend. On not so good days, I see: overweight, tired, new gray hairs, small wrinkles, bad knees, maid, disciplinarian, taxi driver, personal chef, exhaustion, stress, hurt, disappointment, and sometimes even anger.  I am sure that if we all take a look in the mirror, we will see different things based on how we are feeling at that time or what has happened in that day. I am sure most of you can relate to at least one of the things I mentioned above!

Jim Henson, the famous American puppeteer, film director, and producer who is most famous for being the creator of the Muppets said it best when he stated, “The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”  This is what I try to remind myself of daily. The attitude I display and the things I say in front of my own children or the students I interact with will have a lasting impression on them as they continue to grow and navigate this ever changing world.

My name is Kellie Rae Blanden and I am so excited to introduce myself to you as the new Assistant Director of Educational Outreach and Professional Development for the WILL Education Office with Illinois Public Media!  I am originally from Racine, Wisconsin where I began my professional career as a Gang Diversion Family Counselor and a middle school Special Education teacher prior to moving to the Champaign-Urbana Area in 2006.  Over the past ten years I worked as the Minority Enrichment Coordinator with Urbana High School, a Job Monitor and Class Facilitator with the University of Illinois Principal’s Scholars Program, and then most recently served as the Coordinator for Housing Information with University Housing. My husband and I are actively involved in our community and spend a lot of our time mentoring or supporting local youth and their families.  Not to mention, that our two little ones (daughter age 10 and son age 8) keep us busy!

It was a blessing for me to be able to take this position because it allows me to combine all of my passion areas: supporting families and students, teaching or facilitating workshops and trainings, and most importantly supporting our communities and connecting people to resources. It is my hope that this blog serves as a platform where we can share stories, resources, and learn from one another. I hope you will stay connected and we can continue to work together to support our children. If you would like to connect with me personally, please feel free to email me at