Dear Sheila Smith-Anderson:
A Personal Biography: James Economon
I am a product of the St. Louis public school system. Spending thirteen years in public schools, I matriculated through Woodward School to Dewey School and finally Southwest High School. These thirteen years prepared me for thirty-eight years of a teaching profession in St. Louis schools. I have taught communication arts at three high schools: Sumner for five years, Roosevelt for nine years, and Metro for eighteen years. At those locations, I have coached baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer resulting in eighteen league championships. My name is James Economon, and I have spent a lifetime serving this community and preparing its students.
My career began with student teaching when I was sent from the University of Missouri at Columbia to Sumner High School in September of 1969. My experience there was mentored by Dorothy Matlock, and I was rewarded with an offer of a position with the St. Louis Public Schools and Sumner High School. Eagerly I returned, and I learned a great deal about myself and about teaching.
I was lured to Metro in 1975 to experience an alternative high school in a smaller learning community. This experience gave me the opportunity to meet with students on a more personal basis in a more relaxed small school environment. With desegregation and the introduction of magnet schools, Metro was reformulated, so I moved to Roosevelt.
An English department chair, I taught communication arts and team-taught a course called Cobblestones. In cooperation with a social studies teacher Tom Keay, we mentored students and produced and published nine volumes of students’ interviews transformed into interesting articles about St. Louis personalities, organizations and landmarks. The students visited relatives, celebrities, and city locations to conduct interviews and take photographs. These interviews were transcribed; the students composed and edited their...