Returning home Friday from the Twin Cities, Chris Hambuch-Boyle didn’t hesitate answering her cell phone – even though the call was coming from an unknown number.
To the surprise of the longtime Eau Claire school district educator, the caller on the other end was U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
“He said, ‘Hi, Chris. This is Arne Duncan,’ ” she recalled after Monday night’s school board meeting. “I was flabbergasted that he’d even call.”
Hambuch-Boyle spent about the next 10 minutes talking with Duncan about Eau Claire, Gov. Jim Doyle and state support for public schools in Wisconsin.
It wasn’t their first time talking. Hambuch-Boyle, vice president of the Eau Claire Association of Educators, was among a group of educators sitting behind Duncan last month as he spoke at the National Education Association’s annual meeting and representative assembly in San Diego. When he finished, she ran after him, yelling “Mr. Secretary! Mr. Secretary!”
“He said, ‘Homework?’ ” recalled Hambuch-Boyle, who was waving several “Save Our Schools” postcards in her hand, “and I said, ‘No, a present from Wisconsin.’ “