BLANKET — The Blanket school district has been a family affair for 21-year teaching veteran Cynthia Heard, who graduated from Blanket High School. Heard teaches theatre arts in grades 8-12 and English in grades 9-12.

Heard has spent her entire teaching career in Blanket, where her two sons and two daughters have graduated and a grandson now attends. Heard’s father and grandfather are also Blanket graduates. She had her two daughters in class, and her grandson, a junior, is also in a class Heard teaches.

Heard thought she was headed for nursing, not education, after her own high school career. She had jobs including working in the pharmacy, unit secretary and nurse's aide at Brownwood Regional Medical Center.

“That’s really what I thought I wanted to do,” Heard said. “It was hard to see people not survive and I decided to change. I just decided one day that I wanted to impact the younger generation.”

Heard was also drawn to teaching because of the research she did on how to help her autistic son. 

Heard graduated from Howard Payne University with a biology degree and went through HPU’s teaching program. She went to work in Blanket as an English teacher, and when the theatre arts teacher left, Heard — who had no experience with theatre — was told she was going to teach theatre.

“It just fell into my lap,” Heard said. “I like doing theatre. I get to see a creative side to students, which is different from having them in English class.”

It’s “pretty unique” to teach in the same school from which she graduated, Heard said, noting that she went to school with some of her students’ parents.

Heard’s inspiration is her students, as well as her autistic son. “I just like to be able to help all of the kids that are maybe not as high functioning as the other kids,” Heard said. “I feel like that when I have those kind of kids in my room, I’m more drawn to them. I want them to succeed. And I think that’s why my students and I end up being really, really close.”

Heard’s husband, James, works for the Huddleston Surveyors in Comanche.

“There is no other place I’d rather be than right here,” Heard said of her job in the Blanket school district.”