It’s the last week of school and I’m elbow deep in the process of finishing next year’s master schedule. We have the thousands of course requests, the teacher preference sheets, and the task of coming up with a plan that is balanced and fair, getting as many of the students the classes they’d like most. It’s not unlike making a movie; many hands are needed (department chairs, counselors, administrators) and as with a movie, the director does best when listening to the many various opinions while keeping a firm vision and commitment to high quality.

Last night, as I was pouring over the latest draft of the schedule looking at room use, it hit me. I’d spent the better part of an hour reading names.

Abrahamson, Deb
Bair, David
Baggins, Kelly
Barriga, Ivonn
Bennett, Laura
Berend, Jason
Blanchard, Darlene
Bode, Sheryl

Over and over again I wrote room numbers between teachers’ names and the courses we’re offering, and I thought: these people make our school what it is.

Bolig, Lily
Boyd, Donn
Brice, Paul
Briggs, Tim
Broemmelsiek, Jocelyn
Buskirk, Mie
Cameron, Eli
Cannon, John
Cardenas, Ryan
Ceseña, Caroline
Chaker, Martin

That we have dynamic electives, real world connections in core classes, and hordes of motivated students is a direct result of the passionate and professional adults who give so much to our school.

Coppock, Susan
Corrao, Christine
Dargan, Liz
Davidson, Russ
Del Rio, Shannon
diCristina, Ellen
Duck, Jamie
Easbey, Mark
Erales, Curt
Escontrias, Kyle
Etheridge, Robin

Reading their names, one after another after another…

Faris, Bryn
Fisher, Stephen
Floyd, Sean
Germano, Jeff
Hawkins, Kelly
Herrera, Angela
Hovey, Trish
Hrzina, James
Huntley, Scott

…reminded me that no matter what initiatives or programs, no matter what directives or vision, it is the teachers, those weaving magic in classrooms, student by student…

Irish, Stan
Jackson, Angela
Johnson, Chris
Jordon, Scott
Keillor, Rod
King, Mary
Koda, Kerry
Lee, Gail
Lee, Jaewon
Leonard, Kerri

…who make the biggest difference in the lives of our kids and the health of our campus culture.

There on paper…

Magnuson, Ruth
Martinez, Marco
Medak, Kajsa
Moulton, Tina
Mullen, Leona
Newman, Blaze
Norris, Oly
Park, Linda

…in phalanxes of boxes with course ID numbers, arranged alphabetically or by department…

Parks, Jackie
Ramos, Cathy
Reeves, Patricia
Roberts, Tim
Ross, Rob
Shayegan, Melissa
Siers, Stephanie
Springstead, Amy
Smith, Eric
Stimson, George
Teisher, Bob

…were the most powerful agents for good I could ever imagine.

People ask me sometimes what makes our school so special, and it’s not wrong to mention the curious and creative students, supportive parents, and strong tradition of eighty years of San Dieguito, but as I read these names…

Temple, Heather
Trahan, Keith
Travis, Rebecca
Tsuboi, Rie
Van Gorder, David
Vollstedt, Todd
West, John
Witt, Kevin
Wright, Jeremy
Wuertz, Jeremy

…I was struck by the truth that no single force does more to inspire, create, and celebrate the spirit of our school than our teachers.

When any of us feel that warmth of belonging or that pride in being part of our school community, when we look up and shake our heads in amazement at the exquisite funkiness of our school, when we’re overcome by appreciation and want to shout those feelings from the rooftops, I’d simply suggest: thank a teacher.


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