Honoring the High School Teachers in Our Family
High School is a whole different world from Elementary and Middle School. Students– some, are thinking about careers and college. Some are thinking about girls…or boys! Hormones are raging, anger spills over easily, there’s driving, dancing, and football! There are the shy introverts, and the wide open extroverts –and then there are teachers and principals! Bravest of all souls on earth! We have at least twelve high school teachers in our family and two principals, plus one assistant principal already recognized!
I have to start with my most favorite high school teacher in the world of course–my husband, Max Holshouser. After teaching for twelve years, Max retired almost two years ago now. Max earned a BA in Industrial Arts Education at North Carolina State University and has taught woodworking as well as his other subjects. Although trained as a teacher, Max spent 25 years as a mechanical designer in industry. He designed things like the mechanical components for uninterruptible power supply sources, and million dollar pharmaceutical bottle filling machines! When he decided to teach, he brought all of that experience into his classroom. He taught drafting, Computer Assisted Drafting to be exact. He also taught Architecture and Engineering honors classes at Wakefield High School in Wake County, NC. Max taught woodworking in a community college setting and to middle schoolers along the way. It was always interesting for me to visit his school and classroom and see the high esteem his peers and his students had for him. Everywhere we went were students speaking to him, “Hi Mr. H.! What do you think of this! Look what I did!” After they graduated, several students got in touch to let him know how things were going in college. Recognizing my bias on his behalf, I wrote an in-depth blog post about Max previously, so if you’d like to see some of his woodworking you can at this 3 part post: Max Alexander Holshouser, Family Man and Extraordinary Craftsman.
I think it is so great to find out what family has been doing and to learn more about them! With that in mind, I want to tell you about more of the high school teachers in our family both past and present! I will present them in alphabetical order according to their surnames!
A cousin through my Scottish Hogue family, Claire Fallon is a young woman I have known all of her life! Her mother and I were college roommates discovering we were cousins after I got involved in genealogical research in my 60’s. I have had the honor of watching Claire grow up and become this amazing teacher! From childhood on, Claire was very independent and creative. She developed into a strong individual with philosophies of life well-defined. She was blessed in my opinion, to grow up in Hawaii having been born in Pennsylvania, and to have spent her early childhood in North Carolina. In Hawaii I believe, she embraced a healthy lifestyle, danced and became interested in theatre and yoga. She earned a BA from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She also took extensive training in yoga at the Yandara Yoga Institute on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.
In 2010, this courageous young woman opened and taught in a school for yoga and meditation. The school was named The Culebra Institute of Yoga and was located on the beautiful island of Culebra, Puerto Rico. Amazingly, when Claire moved back to Hawaii in 2014, she opened a branch of this school in Honolulu! She then became a business tycoon as well as a teacher at heart. Loving theatre and dance still, Claire took a position teaching both of these at St. Andrew’s Priory School in Honolulu, Hawaii which includes grades K-12! Claire teaches music and movement to K-5, and directs theater productions in 6-12. She is currently directing an all female Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, and she and the students are very excited about it! Just look at a typical day in the life of this dynamic young educator:
“Started off my morning with some meditation and yoga, taught 4 classes of music and movement for young children, led a status acting workshop for older kids, went snorkeling and saw a school of unicorn fish, watched a sunset on the beach, got take out from Shaloha, and in bed before 9pm! That’s a day well lived!”
Last year Claire taught a sunset yoga class at the Yoga School of Kailua, in Kailua, Honolulu County, Hawaii. In October, 2015, Claire will start teaching a new yoga class through her new endeavor called Clarity Yoga. You can find information about Clarity Yoga on facebook , just click on the name.
Just in case you were hoping Claire would do more for you and our world, she does! Claire is the owner/consultant of Hawaii Green Living. Through her efforts there she teaches people to live a healthier life and to decrease their footprint on our earth. You rock Claire! We are so proud of you and your efforts to make the world a better place.
Susan Elswick Ferrell is part of our extended Spangler family. She is officially retired from teaching in high school, but like many teachers, continues because she loves the students and the job. Susan has had an amazing career. She started college herself at Southern West Virginia Community College then finished at West Virginia University Institute of Technology with a degree in Mathematics Education in 1977. In 2004 Susan earned her Masters Degree from University of Phoenix in Technology and Curriculum.
Susan’s career varied as well from beginning to end with some amazing peaks and valleys of course. Just after finishing college, Susan taught remedial classes for college students at her alma mater. After that she taught 7th grade Math and coached cheerleading at Summerville Junior High School. Then she taught Special Education on the Junior High level for three years. She began to teach in high school and loved it. Moving to Montgomery, WV. and Valley High School, she taught every Math course offered there and some computer programming for the rest of her high school career, retiring in 2011. However, that is not all she did–she was the advisor for the yearbook most of her time at Valley High School and loved it. She coached cheerleaders for a few years. As well as all of that, on a county-wide level, she piloted the computer grading system and taught it in the different schools. Awesome!
Even while teaching in high school, Susan also taught part-time at West Virginia Tech. During eight summers Susan taught “Upward Bound” programs which encourage children from low-income or low opportunity situations to learn that they can succeed in college and beyond. Since retiring she has continued to teach part-time, two courses a semester where she has generally taught developmental math, or Finite Math.
What an amazing career with many mixed experiences as well. We know that Susan was an extraordinary teacher also, because in 2006, she was chosen Secondary Teacher of the Year not only from her own school, but also from the whole of Fayette County, West Virginia! I am not surprised that they were as proud of her as her extended family is! You know Susan was an excellent teacher when she states emphatically that “It’s all about the kids!” and says she misses them since retirement! That’s a teacher to love!
We have many more high school teachers in our family tree, some who came before us and laid the groundwork for our family. I will have the joy of telling their stories in the next post. I can hardly wait to hear what some of you think of these three incredible teachers! We are blessed with talent in our families!
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