Sherry Madsen has probably never read "The Power of Positive Thinking," but she could have written it.
Her colleagues at the Deseret News describe Madsen as "upbeat," "bouncy," and "disgustingly enthusiastic." A co-worker said,"You might see her down for a few minutes when something is going on, but she bounces right back before you know it."It's a positive attitude that never quits. Whether she is working as the Deseret News Newspaper in Education coordinator, serving on the Murray Board of Education or planning a special surprise for one of her five children, Madsen strolls the sunny side.
And nothing gives her more pleasure than to learn she has boosted another, especially a child.
A veteran elementary schoolteacher, Madsen came to the Deseret News five years ago. She coordinates the Newspaper in Education program by developing elementary-school activities using the newspaper, running teacher workshops, writing the weekly teacher's guide that goes to teachers using the newspaper in their classrooms and putting together the "Young Ideas" page of children's work.
Madsen searches the "Young Ideas" submissions, looking for a sign indicating a child might need a little extra TLC. She puts those in the newspaper first. She treasures notes from teachers that say,"You'll never know how much having this child's work in the newspaper did for his ego."
"I love kids," Madsen says. "I don't think you could be a teacher, if you didn't love kids."
But her love of kids isn't saved for the classroom. A co-worker believes the title "Super Mom" was invented for Madsen.
Madsen, who married her high school sweetheart, Calvin, 24 years ago, writes weekly to sons, Gary, 20, who is serving in the Michigan Lansing Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Craig, 18, a freshman at Brigham Young University.
On Valentine's Day, she stood in line for 40 minutes to buy a single rose for each of her daughters, Susan, 13, and Amy, 9. "At their ages, if I don't give them roses, who else will?"
Her son, John, 17, and his friends were stalwarts in her campaign for the Murray Board of Education last fall, and Madsen always acknowledges their help in her success.
"I just follow the children around," she says of life away from the office. "Whether it's to band concerts or soccer, I go where they go."