The Ridgefield School District Board of Directors proclaimed Thursday, September 22 as Legendary Teacher Day at a regular board meeting on Tuesday, September 13, 2015 to honor teachers who impact their students' lives.
"Almost everyone remembers at least one K-12 teacher who made a dramatic difference on their life and their perspective in a positive way," said Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield’s superintendent. "The goal of Legendary Teacher Day is to offer folks an opportunity to recognize teachers who influenced them in their lives by telling their stories."
On Thursday, September 22, the Ridgefield School District invites community members, staff, teachers and students to share stories of their legendary teachers on a special Facebook post which will be made on the district's Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/RidgefieldSchools. "We encourage everyone to share their story even if their Legendary Teacher doesn't teach at Ridgefield," said McCann. "Legendary Teacher Day is about great teachers and how they influence us wherever they teach."
As a way to motivate the Ridgefield community to share their Legendary Teacher stories, Dr. McCann, along with each of the board members, shared their own Legendary Teacher stories:
* Dr. Nathan McCann, District Superintendent
"My legendary teacher is Mr. Walter who taught 11th grade United States History when I attended Middlebury Union High School, part of the Addison Central Supervisory Union School District. Mr. Walter is why I became a teacher. He wasn't a particularly large man in stature, however he possessed a presence that commanded the class's attention. He wasn't autocratic – each student got the sense each day that this was our class, not just his class.
Mr. Walter served in the Vietnam War, and I believe his experience there shaped his commitment to making sure students understood the responsibilities living a democracy requires of its constituents. We regularly debated issues in class with Mr. Walter expecting his students to develop and present well-thought positions on the issues – it didn't matter which side of the issue we came down on, it was how we put in an effort to understand the issue.
He was the first social studies teacher I remember who would use stories in his lessons which made history come alive. His class nurtured my love for history which resulted in my own journey to teaching history before becoming a superintendent."
* Scott Gullickson, Board President
"My legendary teacher is Joshua Record who taught second grade when I attended Eugene School District. In an era when there weren't many male teachers, Josh was a young, energetic guy from Michigan who loved his Wolverines football team. He taught topics that weren't typical in the other second grade classes in our school – working on basic math facts until they became second nature for his students, and holding math competitions with 100 equations to see how many problems we could complete in a given amount of time. He gave us M&M candies to fuel our brains while we worked on math.
Other projects he taught us included: learning to play chess, roasting a pig underground, and building geometric domes. Josh would often stay after school so students could learn more about other topics including oceanography, cars, forests, construction, creative writing, sports, and even luaus.
Josh was likable, passionate, and ahead of his time – he understood how to drive and motivate kid. He was always teaching and we, as his students, were always learning and we even thought it was fun the entire time. Mr. Record was an amazing teacher who definitely had a huge impact on my schooling and willingness to explore and learn. I can't thank the man enough."
* Jeff Vigue, Board Vice President
"My legendary teacher is Mr. Mattson who taught 10th grade social studies when I attended Nokomis Regional High School. He had a passion for history and collecting historical memorabilia. One day, he held a show-and-tell in class where he brought Dwight D. Eisenhower's Five Stars to class. The passion with which he told the story of how he acquired them excited me to learn more about history. His storytelling techniques kept the class interested and engaged – he spoke to us instead of at us."
* Joe Vance, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Mrs. Moore who taught fourth grade when I attended Chief Umtuck Elementary School in Battle Ground School District. My family had just moved to Washington from Montana, and Mrs. Moore made me feel loved and welcome. Honestly, I can't remember anything specific about the subject material she taught me; what I remember is how much I enjoyed attending school because of her. She made me feel like I was smart and that I was supposed to be a good student. Her dedication to her students helped me focus and try harder so I could meet her expectations of us."
* Steve Radosevich, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Harry Burridge who taught physics when I was in 11th grade at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis School District. When I entered my junior year, I wasn't particularly interested in science. I enrolled in physics primarily because of the Mr. Burridge's reputation as a great teacher. What made his class so compelling was the energy and passion he put into teaching the subject – he taught with a depth of expertise and desire he developed his enthusiasm with his students.
The aspect of his teaching that impacted me most was his ability to connect the concepts of science to its application by utilizing guest speakers; field trips to businesses and university research centers; and projects which connected the science he was teaching to major advancements that were changing the world at the time. Taking his class strongly influenced both my interests and my pursuits following high school."
* Becky Greenwald, Board Member
"My legendary teacher is Mrs. Lukehart who taught eighth grade Honors English when I attended the McMinnville School District. All teachers teach, but there are some who can change a person's life for the better. Mrs. Lukehart changed my life. She had such a friendly and fun personality which everyone loved. She never asked for too much, but she always expected students to do their best and always held us accountable for our work and our actions.
She had the ability to make her classes interesting and fun whether it was making jokes about different issues, sharing a story from her life, or just through her easy-going personality, she had a way of keeping the classroom's attention and focus. She made learning grammar and reading classic novels exciting and enjoyable – she was absolutely one of the legendary teachers in my life."
The Ridgefield Board unanimously approved Legendary Teacher Day as resolution number 2016-2017-001.