Abraham Lincoln, when nominated for president in 1860, apologized for his lack of formal education. No apology was necessary from the articulate orator and voracious reader whose desire to learn and improve himself continued into his adulthood. Even without school, Lincoln had teachers, people who influenced his education. He moved to New Salem, Illinois, in his early 20s and studied grammar and debate under the tutelage of his mentor, remarkably named Mentor Graham, who wrote about Lincoln: “No one ever surpassed him in rapidly, quickly and well acquiring the rudiments and rules of English grammar.”
Damien Pattenaude went back to his old school in Renton when there was a need. Now he wants to see even more kids return to Renton classrooms as teachers, just as he did.
It has become an even more urgent concern for Pattenaude (’99, ’05 MA, ’16 EdD) now that he is superintendent of the growing Renton School District. Like other school administrators across Washington and the country, he faces a teacher shortage, especially in special education, math, and sciences. Schools also need more diversity among teachers, to better represent the state’s changing population.
It’s not easy being an educator of America’s future. “I work with over 150 adults every day who go home exhausted, because they are doing everything they can to reach and teach children,” says Freedom Siyam ’00.
Siyam is the principal of Balboa High School in San Francisco’s Excelsior district. “This area is the last bastion of the working class family in the city,” he says. All over the Bay Area, rents and home prices have skyrocketed as Silicon Valley has swollen and high-paid tech workers price people out of their neighborhoods.
“Regardless of what district, our families are educationally underserved,” Siyam says. “There’s … » More …
George Hollingbery ’76 studied education at an interesting time, as the profession underwent significant change in the 1970s. Teachers began asking where the classroom began and ended, and how could they better reach and help students who learn in different ways.
During that time, Hollingbery says they all faithfully watched the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Set in a Brooklyn remedial high school class, the show offered a glimpse into how “difficult” students could defy expectations.
Hollingbery, a fourth-generation Coug and grandson of legendary WSU football coach Babe Hollingbery, started teaching high school sociology and other classes in Lacey. Although he had all kinds … » More …