Monday, September 16, 2013

Career: Barbara Chiles, Teacher and Coach

It's that time of year when many of us are back to school
and hitting the books (or laptops or e-readers).
I bet there are teachers who have influenced your life in a good way.

Barbara Chiles, after a grueling climb, reached the top of Long's Peak in Colorado

Barbara Chiles, also known as "Chili," certainly was determined to become a teacher because she admired her innovative physical education (P.E.) teacher, Mrs. Kreiter.  Due to Mrs. K’s encouragement Barbara became a gym teacher and developed her own resourceful ideas and creative teaching methods.
Chili, wearing the hat, at a girls residence camp when she was a girl.
At her school in Illinois, very little money was available to purchase new equipment and to repair the old. Barbara thought of a way to repair the broken strings in the badminton racquets at no cost to the school.  She asked the kids to bring in their moms’ old panty hose.  She showed the students how to pull a leg of the panty hose tightly over the badminton racquet head and duct tape it down to the handle. It worked.  The badminton birdies bounced beautifully off the panty hose!
It was this “get ‘er done” attitude that helped Barbara become the school’s athletic director. She was the first female high school athletic director in Illinois in charge of both boys and girls athletics.
Barbara loved her job as athletic director scheduling games and overseeing the athletic programs. She developed the physical education program for her school and for the State of Illinois. She created one of the first wilderness survival programs in the country.
The idea to establish the Challenges Unlimited Club for her students came to Barbara while she was sitting on top of Long’s Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  Climbing that difficult mountain terrain was a challenge for her. After reaching the top, she felt the excitement of the achievement.  Barbara decided she wanted her students to have that same feeling of accomplishment. When she returned to school, she asked the students to choose big goals to challenge them.  Some decided to train to do 10,000 cartwheels or bike one hundred miles in a day.  Some worked toward goals in swimming, dancing, and more. When the kids achieved their objectives, they were thrilled and ready to set new challenges for the next school year.
“Success is a journey, not a destination,” said Barbara.  “Get all the experience you can.  No one starts on top.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.”

# # # # 
Do you have a teacher who influenced your life? Please take a minute to tell us about her in the comment area below. Thank you.

Find out more about this trailblazing and influential teacher in the e-book for girls, Girls Succeed: Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women.

Inspiring and empowering girls to achieve the career of their dreams.
Here are the links to download a sample and contents or to buy a copy:

Study Guide is also available to accompany the book.

Study guide Smashwords Link:
Study guide Amazon Link



  1. I like Barbara's "get 'er done" attitude. That was cool how she used the pantyhose to restring the badmitten rackets.

  2. Hi Susanne! Chili can do anything she sets out to do. She raised a million dollars for a girls camp in Michigan! And that was during the economic depression in 2008. She's a great role model for girls. Thanks so much for stopping in.!!!