By Angela Higginbotham
Nancy Seidner is a Florida native, born and raised in Winter Park. Seidner and her family moved to St. Johns County 25 years ago when her husband took a job in the Jacksonville area. Seidner was a stay at home mom and eventually hoped for something to do part time while her kids were in school. In 2007 she became a crossing guard for the St. Johns County School District and has been passionate about the job since the day she started. When not working as a crossing guard, Seidner enjoys staying involved in her church; currently, Seidner is working on the Mandarin United Methodist pumpkin patch. The patch has has become a well known treat in the community during this time of year.
What is your favorite thing about living and working in St. Johns County?
The schools. We moved here when my daughter was starting kindergarten. It’s a nice community, and it’s also easy to get to know people. It’s nice to see people I know at the grocery store, and live in a community where so many people know each other. My daughter graduated from high school with many of the same kids that she also went to kindergarten with.
What do you enjoy most about being a school crossing guard, and what do you enjoy the least about the job?
I’ve always enjoyed working as a crossing guard because it’s part time and I can do it while the kids are in school. I’ve been able to do what I needed to do during the day, and still be home with the kids. My least favorite thing would be the 95 to 100 degree weather we have. If it’s cold you can always put more clothes on, there’s not much relief when it’s hot
Is there training to become a crossing guard?
Yes, we have annual training at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s office. We are all CPR certified. A lot of the training comes from the teaching of the other crossing guards at the same post we are assigned to work at. Every post is unique in its own way — some are four-way stops and some are at a traffic light, so it’s important to be trained well at your specific post.
What is your biggest pet peeve about drivers in the school zone, or is there anything you would like to let drivers know?
The biggest thing is there isn’t enough respect for us or the children. If everyone abided by the rules and laws, the crossing guards wouldn’t be needed. The school drop off lines are actually shorter because of the kids who walk or ride their bike, so just be thankful for that. I know that people are in a rush to get places, but leave five or 10 minutes early. The kids are our future and we need to keep them safe.
Do you personally get to know the children and parents that cross your path on a regular basis?
I get to know them a little bit. I try to remember all of the kids’ names. If a parent asks me if I saw their child, it’s appreciated if I can tell them yes or no. We all love the parents that cross. They help us by watching after the kids whose parents aren’t close by. They’ll let us know if there’s anything we need to address.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It would either be Australia or Africa. I love the Australian accent. I would love to see the kangaroos and go snorkeling there. I think I would also love Africa because of the safaris and the wild animals.
Photo by Martie Thompson