05/09/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Honoring Our Favorite Teachers

Happy teacher hugs young student

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! Here at CS&A, teachers rule. After all, without teachers, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this work that we love. And, we feel doubly fortunate because we work daily with a group of people—from hiring contacts at client schools to candidates looking for their first or tenth job—who are collectively caring, passionate, and energetic. We count ourselves among the many who have been and continue to be influenced by teachers each and every day. Teachers, from all of us at CS&A: thank you!

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Day, we share some of our favorite teachers from growing up who motivated and challenged us and inspired us to do the work we’re doing.

Ben Bolte, Senior Search Consultant, Admissions and College Counseling Placement

“Fritz Mark, who later taught at Hotchkiss for many years, taught me as at Hill student—and in my fourth form year, through successive Wednesday night help sessions in his study, he taught me to use the active voice. I later majored in English, taught English, and earned a Master’s in English. Thanks, Fritz. The late Bob Neil taught history at Oberlin with a passion—he always played La Marseillaise the last day of his Modern Europe class and his eyes misted over. Bob served as my advisor freshman year when I thought about majoring in history. I changed to English the next year. Bob still invited me to join his group of advisees for a senior dinner at his home the week before our commencement three years later; it was a gesture—and a dinner—I will never forget.”

Barbara Chase, Senior Search Consultant

“I will always remember Miss Gish, my first grade teacher, for her kindness. She saw my red construction Valentine’s heart cut (by mistake) into two pieces on my desk. She scooped them up and gave me a whole new sheet of construction paper without a word of “You didn’t listen to my instructions about folding and NOT cutting where the fold was!” Miss Gish knew that humiliation, no matter how tempting, should never be a tool in the good teacher’s tool kit. Bless her!”

Jamie Cohen, Placement Counselor

“My most memorable teacher was a woman at Hopkins who has since retired, named Martha Venter. She was my French teacher in middle school and remained a mentor to me throughout my whole high school experience. I remember her so well because she exuded so much energy in the classroom and was clearly very passionate about the subject, and made everyone feel comfortable. We learned songs, read books (“Le Petit Prince”), ate crepes, and performed skits in class, and Mrs. Venter even took us on a four-day trip to Quebec in 7th and 8th grade so we could practice our French. She put in so much effort and got to know each student on an individual level. I am certain that I studied French in college and studied abroad in France because of my experience in her class in middle school.”

Sherry Coleman, Senior Search Consultant

“I was in 9th grade when I met Mrs. Heath. She believed in me, encouraged me, and erased any doubts that I had about my success. I loved listening to stories about her college experiences which I realized she used to motivate her students. She did not accept someone saying they can’t complete a task or take a course that was challenging.

She was the first black female teacher at my school who was a role model for me, and other students. It was reassuring just knowing she was there. Someone who understood who you were without saying a word. It is because of Mrs. Heath that I became an educator. I wanted to make a difference. I stand on her shoulders and those of other strong and powerful women who came before me.

Teachers make a difference in the lives of their students sometimes without every knowing. As Rubem Alves says in Tomorrow’s Child, “So let us plant dates even though we who plant them may never eat them. We must live by the love of what we never see.”

Ralph Davison Senior Search Consultant

“I had two immensely formative teachers in middle and high school, where I was a student at the Maret School in Washington, DC. The first was my father. He taught me Choral Music, Drama, Ancient History, and English. I did get some comments from friends about my good grades in his classes, but he was clear with everyone—especially me—that I would need to work very hard in his classes to get those good grades. And I did work hard, mostly because I loved studying with him. In so many ways, the educator that I am is because of him.

My second very inspirational teacher was Peter Kline. He was fresh out of graduate school when I had him for English in the 7th grade. His passion was Shakespeare, and so it became ours. We read and studied all the big masterpieces and memorized the most famous soliloquies. I can recite them to this day. I admired Mr. Kline and loved English. He stayed close to our class (there were only 30 of us when we graduated) and was a guest of high honor when we had our 50th high school reunion.”

Jake Dresden, Senior Search Consultant

“John Buckey was, on first glance, the wrong guy at the wrong school. A Marine, tough and demanding, I encountered him in my junior year of boarding school where relationships and collaboration were the norm, not toughness and competitiveness. He quickly established his standards for performance, ones that stretched the 16-year old know-everything that I was. Despite the apparent mismatch, he grew on me, supported me, encouraged me, and showed me how stretching beyond where you think you can go leads to growth and success. That model of placing expectations just beyond reach has stuck with me and formed the basis for much of my own teaching and coaching approach. After all these years, I am grateful to John and his intuitive understanding of how to reach a teenage boy.”

Liam Gluck, Placement Counselor

“My favorite teacher by a mile is Mr. Flaggert, who taught American Literature to juniors at Needham High School. It was the only class I remember where sometimes people kept discussing a book after the bell rang. He gave so much life to characters that you really felt their triumphs and fears and plights in his classroom. He called on everybody and answered your point as would a peer. He took us seriously. I’ve loved stories ever since his class.”

Sloan Meyer, Placement Counselor

“Growing up, I was fortunate to have some incredible teachers that shaped not only my academics but my growth as an individual. My 9th and 10th grade history teacher Mr. Heaphy cultivated my love for history as the study of stories and human interaction, and inspired me to always bring a little pop culture and humor to my own history classroom once I became a teacher. I also had three incredible college mentors who taught me how to articulate an argument successfully and teach with compassion and respect. It is because of all of these teachers that I chose to enter the classroom after graduate school and why I am passionate about helping educators find the perfect match. A great teacher can have an incredible effect on a student and I am proud to know I am a part of that process.”

Julie Piwowarczyk, Director of Communications

“I had the same English and literature teacher for three out of the four years of high school. Ms. Maluchnik had a reputation for being extremely tough, nearly unforgiving, and incredibly demanding. It wasn’t until college that I understood why she taught the way she did. In addition to teaching us Greek and American literature, how to write thoughtfully and intentionally, and about a million different vocabulary words, she was giving us an invaluable reality check in terms of what life in college—and in the working world—would bring. I have her to thank for the ease with which I wrote lengthy college papers and, more importantly, for the high expectations I set for myself.”

Tom Redmon, Senior Search Consultant

“In my 12th grade advanced English class in the early spring, Abigail’s pencil fell off her desk as we were getting settled. I reached down and over and picked it up, handing it to her with a smile more embarrassed than flirtatious. Guys just don’t do that. I secretly hoped that no one in the class had seen me.

After a difficult class of “Richard III” analysis, Miss Hazel Stephenson asked me to wait at her desk. She looked me in the eye and told me that a moment of kindness was worth more than 1,000 years of studying Shakespeare. She taught me more in that sentence than I had learned all year.”

Bob Windham, Senior Search Consultant

“Mr. Gorman was the teacher that believed I could do things beyond my own assessment of myself. He taught me vocational agriculture. Because of him, I can judge pigs in a livestock show, weld a beautiful livestock gate, de-horn a cow, identify and name every tree and shrub in Texas, and raise a prize-winning Angus heifer. While I have not used these skills in a while, his support and encouragement  still reminds me what an individual student can accomplish when someone truly believes and supports them. He was simply the kindest, most uplifting person I encountered in all my time as a student. After spending  nearly 40 years leading schools, Mr. Gorman inspired me to the strongest belief I have regarding schools: No school ever exceeds the quality of its teachers.

Who was your favorite teacher? Share in the comments below! We’d love to hear your stories.

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