Since I wrote about incredible teachers that I know or have known in yesterday’s blog, I have heard from some whose names I omitted. I am chagrined by my omissions. People who contacted me were complimentary about the blog and seemed to bear me no ill will about leaving out their names. I want to try to rectify that in this post, disregarding one of our minister’s rules for public recognition, “Recognize everyone or recognize no one.” Those of you I failed to mention, my thanks for your grace and good humor. Those qualities alone show you are a great teacher.
I also wrote the post very early and put it out there early. I think more names might have occurred to me if I had waited. That said, here are some more phenomenal teachers.
Judith Johnson Smith, whom I know through the Manassas Chorale, wrote, “I had a hand in training lots of teachers while I was working in Fairfax and then teaching in the Troops to Teachers program after retirement. I have always been passionate about TEACHERS – they are the key!”
Mary McElveen, a denizen of Sub-School 5 at Robinson back in the day, was a chemistry teacher who could have taught any subject. She is (still, Mary?) the Poet Laureate of the City of Alexandria.
Hannah and Allan Nixon are two special friends who retired from educational positions but continue to be involved in helping upcoming teachers. Hannah was a music teacher; Allan was an elementary principal. They are indeed the salt of the earth.
I met special needs teacher Sandra Pritchard at a local grocery store recently with her group of students. She introduced me as a local writer. I was impressed by the kind way she related to her charges.
We had a remarkable group of teachers in Sub-School 5 at Robinson High School. Sandy Keim taught calculus with effortless grace and was one of the funniest people I have ever met. Her husband George Keim was a principal who sometimes visited Robinson occasionally. We had a 20-minute break in the middle of the morning, which George liked to call “recess.” “I never saw a high school with recess,” he said. He later acted as interim principal at Osbourn High School. I told Alyssa, then a student there, to ask him if they could have recess. He looked at her and said, “You must be a Verner.” Other Robinsonites I remember fondly as great teachers include Diane Lethcoe, Marcia Gibson, Lois Page, Scott Ludlow, Mary Moriarty and Mary Kay Montgomery. Shirley Whiteman was our department chair for years and beloved by her students and fellow teachers.
I think all teachers have a special place in their hearts for students who go on to become teachers. For me, these include Lisa Hope Lucia Vierra-Moore and Jill Grissom. They were extraordinary students so I am certain they are incredible teachers.
I sometimes see local retired principal Bob Thomas around town. He was an excellent administrator who helped generations of students and teachers. Then there is former Northern Virginia Writing Project Director Don Gallehr who inspired so many writing teachers and by extension their students.
I probably still don’t have everyone, but you know who you are. Thank you for the important work you do.
Note: Terri Wiseman, a retired teacher, wrote me that Suzie Shaw is in the hospital. Thoughts and prayers with you, Suzie.