September 05, 2003
By Chris Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools
This summer I was so fortunate. I got to teach summer school. I job shared with Resé Jacobs, teaching 20 active second graders at Muir Elementary School.
Vanitha Chandrasekhar was our brand new summer school principal. Resé called her and asked, "Guess who one of your teachers is going to be?" Then the first week of summer school Vanitha found out that Assistant Superintendent Karen DeVries was also going to be one of her teachers.
Being a summer school principal is tough enough. But having two district people on your campus every day is really hard. Vanitha was so gracious. She made drop-in visits, came to my classroom, gave me good positive feedback.
She treated us like everybody else. We did our best to implement a new program with online report cards, but Mr. Steinhauser messed up on 16 of them. The note said "Rejected." Vanitha asked Resé, "How do I tell the superintendent I rejected his report cards?"
But I had a great time teaching. It was because of Vanitha. She did what we want all administrators to do, which is support their teachers.
It was truly an outstanding experience. A fellow superintendent told me I was crazy to do it. But he missed the point. What I enjoyed so much was that these children in Room 47 at Muir reminded me how important our job is. They are the next leaders of our nation. We asked them what they wanted to be. They said President, doctor, firefighter. It's so important to this great nation and our democracy that we do our best to fulfill their dreams.
All I ask of you this year is to remember the kids in Room 47 and the other 97,000 we serve. Remember, someone took care of us. Someone helped us achieve our dreams. It's now our responsibility to help these kids achieve their dreams and the dreams of their parents. That's what teaching is all about.
We are a great school system. I thank all of you for everything you do for our students. Don't worry about the problems of the state. Let me worry about that. Have a great year.