A Special Thank-You to my Teachers


In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, I want to take a serious moment and publicly recognize some important people in my life:

My teachers.

I can’t bear to talk about the sweet innocent lives lost—the babies, and their protectors who died trying to save them.

TeacherSo I want to focus on something positive. As the daughter of two teachers, and future daughter-in-law of another teacher, I’ve always had the greatest respect and admiration for our nation’s educators.

And over the past week, I’ve watched public opinion of teachers change drastically, to finally match mine. Throughout my life, four of my teachers really stood out, and I want the world to know who they are:

1) Mr. Ely

4th Grade, Desert Springs Elementary School, Phoenix, Ariz.

I still remember Mr. Ely’s yearly Thanksgiving Feast, where our class made everything from scratch—even the butter. I remember being fascinated by our lessons on the Emperor Penguins, as well as the cow’s eye I couldn’t wait to dissect, before I got sick. With Mr. Ely, going to school wasn’t boring; it was recess! Every day was a new adventure, and that’s something, coming from an ADHD child.

2) Mrs. Kroeppler (now Mrs. Prince)

High School English, Horizon High School, Phoenix, Ariz.

I had Mrs. Prince for three years: as a sophomore, junior and senior. I had some wonderful writing and journalism professors during college, but none matched Mrs. Prince. She taught me about poetry, inspired my writing and creativity beyond what I believed I could do. I became a professional writer partly due to Mrs. Prince’s influence. Above all, I’ll never forget her words to me, senior year of high school: “You’re a leader. You just don’t know it yet.”

3) Mr. Leonard

High School Social Studies/History, Horizon High School, Phoenix, Ariz.

My world opened when I first took Mr. Leonard’s World History class as a high school sophomore. The Middle Ages suddenly weren’t about dates and names, but about stories and lost love. The Black Plague. Marie Antoinette. The French Revolution. Mr. Leonard not only sparked my first curiosity in traveling to Europe, but he TOOK me there as part of a three-week school trip after I graduated! That was my first experience leaving the country.

4) Brian Friedman

Dance, The Dance Studio, Scottsdale, Ariz.

I started dancing at age 3, so this list would never be complete without a dance teacher. I didn’t enter Brian’s world until I turned 16, but in the few years I trained under him, I became a force to reckon with. Brian pushed harder than any other dance teacher, but he also cared about me—as a teenager—more than the others, too. I’ll never forget performing my first solo in the high school talent show, and Brian showing up to watch and support me. Today, Brian is a dance hot-shot, choreographing for Britney Spears and producing X-Factor shows. Go Brian!

WHICH TEACHERS AFFECTED YOUR LIFE? Give them the shout-out they deserve right here. Let’s recognize and honor our nation’s incredible teachers!

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RIP dear, sweet Sandy Hook babies and teachers …

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3 thoughts on “A Special Thank-You to my Teachers

  1. I can say that my life is what it is today thanks to a few good teachers who saw the potential in me and helped bring it out.

  2. As your mom, these are the 4 teachers I would have chosen as well that were awesome in your school career. In the wake of this terrible tragedy, teachers in this country may now gain much more respect. Repect they always deserved and didnt always get. Teachers are heros everyday in the lives of the children that are entrusted to them. Good post Shari!

C'mon, you MUST be thinking something.

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