It was such a surprise to hear. Truthfully, we hadn’t spoken in five or six years. Partly this was just the natural result of time and distance; it is also because I do not do well keeping in touch with those I do not see regularly. But to hear that you died suddenly yesterday — it doesn’t seem real to me. You were so young. In your early or mid-60s maybe? Nearing retirement. I remember now that you responded to one of my tweets recently, in late April. You said that you had one more year of teaching left before retirement. You said you were going to move to Sacramento. Close to the mountains, to the ocean, to wine country. We had a short exchange and that was it. That was the last time we connected.
I met you back in 2003, when I was a new teacher. You were already a veteran special education teacher and I was a second year math teacher, and we co-taught a few classes together. You encouraged me, we collaborated, and I valued our partnership. After that year, I moved on to help start a school, and four years later, I was principal of that new school. You applied for a special education position at our school, and we hired you. You joined the staff, created an amazing service learning program, connected so many students to service and giving to the community. You had a heart for students, and students loved you.
After I left the school in 2012, we didn’t talk or see one another much. I know you continued to work in Chicago Public Schools. I know you wanted to reach retirement. So you could move. So you could travel. You always had a trip you were planning. You always had a joke to tell. You always had a relationship to build.
Oh friend, I am sad to hear of your passing. The students you would have had this year have lost a kind, compassionate teacher. The world is poorer without you. And even though I haven’t seen you in some time, I will miss you. Sending you all my love, Bill.
Please follow this blog by subscribing at the bottom of this page. And please follow me on Twitter and Instagram: