A Commitment to 'Doing'
“Being is not important. Doing is.”
With those words, Barbara Radding Morgan, 33, answered the question “Why do you want to become the first U.S. private citizen in space?”
Now, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has tapped her to do just that. And she has signaled back her willingness to undertake the role.
A teacher at the McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in McCall, Idaho, Ms. Morgan was born Nov. 28, 1951 in Fresno, Calif. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor of arts in human biology from Stanford University in 1973, and earned her teaching certification at the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, Calif., in 1974.
After earning her credential, she moved to the Flathead Indian Reservation, where she taught remedial reading and math at the Arlee Elementary School in Arlee, Mont.
The following year, she moved to Idaho and began teaching at McCall Donnelly. In 1978, she married Clayton Michael Morgan and moved to Quito, Ecuador. They have no children.
In Quito, she taught English and science to Ecuadorian 3rd graders at Colegio Americano de Quito. Returning to McCall in 1979, she has taught 2nd- through 4th-grade classes at McCall-Donnelly.
Her principal, John Wall, considers her an excellent teacher. “She communicates well with her students and with parents.”
In her NASA application, she explained what she thinks makes a good teacher. “Just as my students learn by doing, so do I,” she wrote. “Every experience rubs off on me and thus helps my students for the rest of their lives.”
She has been “learning by doing” outside of class as well. A flute and mandolin player and a student of the violin, Ms. Morgan is a member and acting musical director of the McCall Chamber Orchestra, the McCall Chorale, and the McCall Mandolin Orchestra. She is also treasurer and concert organizer for the McCall Folklore Society and has performed as a musician for local dramatic productions.
In addition, Ms. Morgan loves the outdoors: She is a cross-country skier, hiker, and sailor. She runs a Red Cross summer swim program and helped organize the Idaho Special Olympics.
In her NASA application, she said she wanted to invite the other members of the space-shuttle crew to Idaho “so that Idaho can get to know them and so that they can get to know Idaho.”
Ms. Morgan has been on a leave-of-absence from her school since last August. On July 19, she was selected as the alternate candidate for the NASA “Teacher-in-Space” program, and participated in much of the training for the last space-shuttle mission.
Vol. 5, Issue 23, Page 21