When normal business and school schedules impede upon each other, sometimes a hero steps up and volunteers to alleviate some of the stress. Citizen Cindy Hayes did just that.
Prior to the pandemic, most parents had their work and their children’s school hours coinciding in perfect harmony. When employees at First National Bank struggled to find that with virtual hours and A/B schedules, their human resources and management team did not have to look too far.
Turning FNB’s Giles Heritage Theatre into Theatre Bank School, Hayes, a former schoolteacher and FNB CEO Mark Hayes’ wife of 35 years, decided she would dedicate her time to this effort.
“Cindy Hayes volunteered to provide support to our children,” VP/Marketing Director Amy Woodard said. “She is a great asset and support to our children.”
Hayes works with as many as nine children in grades kindergarten-nine every Virtual Wednesday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and as needed with the changes of virtual/in-person rulings.
“She helps make sure they are getting all of their virtual schoolwork completed, understands their lessons and helps them to study as well,” Woodard added.
Enabling the parents to finish their shifts, Hayes fills the additional time by providing world geography, health science and history lessons for them, board games and puzzles, art lessons, pizza parties, chess and movie time.
“She’s dedicated to making sure they are getting their education,” Lindsay Adams said. “I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”
Hayes obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1986 from the University of Tennessee. She went on to work in education as a fifth-grade teacher in the Dalton, Ga., school system and as a first and second grade teacher at Harpeth Academy in Franklin.
“Mrs. Cindy is very caring and full of knowledge,” Jessica Malone asserted. “She has taken the time to help all of us parents out in a time of need.”
Hayes also homeschooled her own children, 30-year-old Brian and 27-year-old Sarah, from kindergarten-12th grade. Brian went on to become a commercial airline pilot and Sarah an associate wealth advisor for Truxton Trust.
“Her background with her own children and care for others is very apparent,” Patrick Gilbert said. “My grandkids absolutely love the experience, and she made them feel very empowered.”
As a member of Second Street Church of Christ, Hayes teaches third-fourth grade Sunday school and a community Bible study.
“Her strong faith is evident in everything she does,” Savannah Bentley said. “At lunch time, she makes a point to pray with the children.
“She is not only a fantastic teacher and role model for them, but I have learned so much from her as well and am blessed to call her my friend.”
The students sing her praises as well.
“Mrs. Cindy is the nicest person ever,” Richland ninth grader Sara Woodard said. “She knows so much, and I’ve learned a lot from her. I have enjoyed our Virtual Wednesdays because she makes learning things fun.”
Minor Hill School kindergartner Aspen Wark concurred, noting, “Mrs. Cindy is so nice. Nice enough to help me with my homework.”
“She is the best and she knows a lot about geography,” Richland Elementary fifth grader Luke Woodard added. “I look forward to coming every Wednesday and on virtual days.”
“She is loving, and she takes good care of all of us in her Wednesday class,” Richland sixth grader Weston Brumit concluded.
During a time of exasperation and tension for those struggling to find a new norm, Hayes was there to fill a space and be part of the solution.
“Mrs. Cindy’s dedication to see our children reach their full potential shows incredible character, and we are blessed to have her,” Ashley Harris said.