Citizen Spotlight: Terri Irons

Terri Irons is a self-proclaimed “Excelsior Springs superfan,” partly by choice, but also because her roots here run deep. Raised in Excelsior Springs she spent lots of time on her maternal grandparent’s Century Farm just south of town, which was established in 1900. She graduated from Excelsior Springs high school just like her grandparents, parents, sister, aunt, and all her cousins. “The one grandparent who wasn’t an Excelsior graduate is from Orrick, so not very far away,” Terri laughed. In high school, she was voted by her graduating class “most likely to stay in Excelsior Springs,” a title she wears like a badge of honor. “I guess I must have had something in me that showed that I love this community, even then,” she said, “the people here have just been very good to me my whole life.” 

Terri recently retired after teaching for 27 years, 3 years in Pleasant Hill, and 24 in Excelsior Springs. Her coaching career extends another 2 years because she was recruited as a student teacher to begin coaching. In her first year at Excelsior Springs, she helped guide the women’s softball team to a state title. She says it was a little bit of skill and a lot of luck on her part. She gave much credit to the fact that she took over a well-coached team that had nine returning starters. When she was coaching she said it allowed her to see kids in a different way, and that their leadership and emotions were on a different level. “It’s not just about the sport. It’s about the energy that the kids have. When there’s a big game on the line and you get a big win, it’s just it’s fun seeing our kids succeed.” she said smiling.

She said she feels like it’s important for kids to participate in group activities, to help them mature as individuals. “They [activites] play such a big part in kids’ development and working with people. That team unity, the family sense that you get, I think, no matter if it’s sports, or the arts, it creates a special bond,” she reflected. She went on to say that in her experience, more often than not, she felt the kids who were in activities were generally more productive in all aspects of their lives than those that opted to sit out.

Even in retirement Terri has stayed highly involved in the community. After a stint with the community center, she’s now working part-time at the golf course. She also serves on the Educational Foundation Board, Mauer Foundation, Excelsior Springs SAFE committee, and was selected last week to serve on the Parks and Recreation Board. The Parks and Rec appointment is a bit of a “full circle” moment, as one of Terri’s first jobs in high school was working for Parks and Rec. Additionally, she said she also loves to volunteer at the school working sporting events, “just to be a part of that energy and excitement it brings.” She said one of her proudest achievements was helping to establish the Tiger Hall of Fame in 2005. “I think that’s been a huge a huge asset to the school and we’ve been able to recognize people who have been very successful in the history of Excelsior athletics, which is one of my greatest passions,” she reflected.

Terri gives credit for her community involvement to her role models and mentors. She said her paternal grandfather was president of Commerce Bank and very active with the museum and Kiwanis Club. She also said Jesse Hall, another pillar of community leadership, was very instrumental in getting her involved with the community and staying active in the schools. “I’ve always just felt like that’s what you’re supposed to do, when you live in a community you should be a part of it,” she said. Terri said that sometimes it feels like society has become more self-centered, where everyone asks ‘what’s in it for me?’ She says she’d like to encourage people who want things to happen to actually get involved and make them happen. “I just feel like, it’s our responsibility to make places better and if you’re not willing to make a change or do something to help it, don’t complain about it!” she concluded.

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