Energy that's elementary
Job: Psychologist at Darien Elementary School for 31 years
On scheduling her work day: "I always have a time disability. I make a list of things to do and suddenly, poof! I'm out of time."
Her philosophy: The bucket theory. "We all carry a bucket. People put in little drops that give us strength. At some point, it's enough. That's what we're doing, and I have a part of that."
When she's not working: Loudon likes to read. New York Times columnist and author Anna Quindlen is one of her favorites.
She also likes to see movies—particularly comedies—in the theater. The sillier, the better, Loudon said. She prefers the theater because "when I'm at home, I get distracted."
Advice for school-aged girls: "It's really helpful to have as full of a life as possible in high school and middle school." If you rely only on learning skills from your family, "it's really easy to get stuck repeating what's happening in your childhood."
DARIEN Hey, girl!
Grab a chair and a cup of coffee. Or a juice box, if you prefer.
Get ready to make a new friend.
Somehow, among her office shelves bursting with files and her mile-a-minute manner and schedule, Vikee Loudon makes her guest feel like nothing matters but this conversation.
Maybe sincerity is something that Loudon, the psychologist at Darien Elementary School, has learned in more than 30 years of working with children.
Loudon's job is to help teachers and parents figure out what might be getting in the way of a child's learning. That could be anything from a learning disability to a cultural disconnect, Loudon said.
A typical workday might include observing a child in one classroom and leading a whole class discussion in another.
Then lunch with a student who needs a little extra "support and redirection."
After school, she might step into a homework help session for families or into her clinic office, where she holds private sessions part time.
Delavan-Darien School District Administrator Wendy Overturf said she turns to Loudon for help dealing with tough, sensitive situations involving kids and families.
But even when school is out, Loudon still works hard, Overturf said.
In the summer, Loudon often loads her car with Darien kids and takes them to swimming lessons in Delavan. She sometimes pays for the lessons, and while she's out and about, she might pick up things at the store with a child or family in mind.
All on her own time with her own money, Overturf said.
"She's always worried about our kids and our families," Overturf said. "How they're making it and how they're struggling. She's very intuitive about people."
Loudon takes that selfless attitude home, too, said her friend Diane Pillard.
When they met in college, Pillard, who's now the dean at UW-Rock County, never would have guessed Loudon would end up as a school psychologist.
Frankly, Pillard didn't think Loudon could sit still that long.
The two are part of a group of college girlfriends who still—now in their 50s—meet twice a year for a girls weekend.
They jokingly try to prevent Loudon from vacuuming the guestroom because her boundless energy makes her push the machine too fast to actually pick up any dirt, Pillard said.
But they depend on and appreciate Loudon's willingness to put on her professional hat and talk her friends through problems, Pillard said.
"We've all come to look forward to that in addition to Vikee's company," Pillard said. "Having grown up with her, I have come to appreciate her strengths. She's always taking care of anyone else."