Meet Peggy, middle school reading specialist and blogger behind Hallways Are My Runways

Name: Peggy Kollias

Age: 33

Occupation: Middle School Reading Specialist, District 204

Education/School Attended: Undergraduate BA degree in English and Secondary Education from Loyola University Chicago and Masters in Reading and Reading Specialist degrees from National-Louis University.

Meet our newest H&T Trailblazer and the blogger behind Hallways Are My Runways, Peggy Kollias! She was born in Athens, Greece and lived in the country until she was almost five years old when her parents moved her, her two sisters, and her brother to the Chicago suburbs. Performing well in school was always an important emphasis of Peggy’s childhood, especially since her parents wanted her and her siblings to be fully immersed in the English language. Keeping true to their Greek roots, her parents also enrolled Peggy and her siblings in weekly Greek School and provided them opportunities to learn traditional Greek dances! Throughout the years, Peggy has held a few jobs in the retail space at both Marshall Field’s and Bloomingdale’s. Upon graduating from Loyola University Chicago, her career in education took off. First, as a one-on-one teaching assistant in a special education program, and then at a private school where she has taught classes in language arts, English, Spanish, humanities, and reading to education levels starting in kindergarten all the way through the eighth grade. Despite the hardships she faced growing up in a new country, she attributes her self-confidence and courage today to all of her lifetime experiences and the empowerment from putting herself “out in the world” by writing her blog. Peggy embodies everything we love about our Trailblazers and the Holly & Tanager woman! Read her full interview below:

What is your current position?

Currently, I’m a reading specialist for sixth and eighth grades. I teach small classes of students who are reading below grade level. I also coach cross country and track.

Tell us about Hallways Are My Runways and why you started your blog.

I began writing Hallways Are My Runways in October of 2012. I had been contemplating the idea of starting a blog for a few months prior and then one day Eleni, my older sister, said let’s start your blog. Journal writing in school was my favorite thing to do because you just wrote until the teacher told you to stop. HAMR, naturally, feels like I’m journaling all the time; which I love. HAMR is a collection of personal style, budget finds, Chicago doings and travel logs. The blog itself was easy to name because I’m a teacher and the long hallways reminded me of the catwalk.

Who is your role model and why?

My roles model is my sister, Eleni. She is the definition of a girl boss. She not only is an assistant manager at Hermes, she is the brains behind Limani Designs. She not only was the pioneer of us siblings, but she paved the way for me so that I could pursue my interests. She taught me how to drive, how to put on makeup and I took some of her unique fashion advice. She always listens to me and she loves offering life advice. I don’t always listen, but I know she cares. She not only is my sister, but she is my best friend.

If you gave advice to your 10-year-old-self, what would it be?

I would tell my 10-year-old-self that everything will be alright. Just breathe and enjoy being young.

If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?

If I could have any super hero power, it would be reading people’s minds. I love people watching and it would be cool to hear what they are thinking.

What essential items do you always carry with you in your work purse?

In my work purse, I carry my agenda planner. I’m old school on this because I love the feeling of crossing out to do lists. I also carry my pencil case, laptop, phone charger, Vaseline, lip gloss, several books and of course papers to grade.

What do you love about your Holly & Tanager handbag?

I love my Sidekick Mini! It fits perfectly inside my work bag and is ready at all times to make an appearance. I love the handle and the fact that there are so many secret pockets inside. I’m a sucker for a secret pocket. The material is so soft and beautiful and I love how it is two-toned – business on one side and ready to play on the other side.

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