Starting the fall semester of 2014, a few Los Altos teachers will be leaving or reducing the number of classes they teach. Most notably, science teachers Thomas Budd and Carl Babb are retiring and Spanish teacher Tiffany Karow will be reducing her class load.
The Science Department will be losing Babb, one of their more experienced teachers. After four decades of teaching, beginning in 1973, Babb has decided to retire and wishes to pursue other plans.
“I have another life waiting for me,” Babb said. “I got a lot of things to do. I have no reason to hang around.”
His plans for his retirement are already set: Babb plans on taking a 200-mile hike in the first month and taking on the John Muir Trail with a few other teachers. In addition to his hiking trips, Babb and his wife will be sailing the inland passage to Alaska and in early 2014, traveling to Patagonia in South America.
“So if I miss students, I can look them up and go sailing with them,” Babb said.
Even though Babb taught both high school classes and college courses for 20 years, he believes that high school was the best. Babb said that the relationships he formed with students were the best parts of his teaching career.
“I’m still in touch with some of the folks I had many years ago,” Babb said. “You know, I have people who write to me and who periodically I see from ages and ages ago.”
Although he doesn’t know who will be replacing him, Babb said he would recommend a teaching position at a high school to anybody as teaching offers a fun experience and a job that ultimately pays off.
Budd hopes to accomplish multiple tasks and explore hobbies that teaching prevented him from pursuing. He will be free to follow these plans in his retirement. These include involvement with the California Teachers’ Association and traveling.
“We bought a motor home last year so we’re going to do some motor-homing … travel around that way and basically do the things I’ve always wanted to do,” Budd said.
Attending and graduating from the school, Budd dedicated a number of years to the school as both a student and a teacher. His most memorable experience was during his first year of teaching when he taught both science and math courses.
“[I was] just going up and down the stairs all the time,” Budd said. “It definitely kept me in shape.”
In reference to the teacher that will be replacing Budd, he said they would need to be open to different things and able to think on their feet. Multiple credentials in different courses would be useful as well, as they may need to teach more than one class. Besides these few requirements, Budd believes that teachers would have to be able to be able to educate students in a subject by getting them interested.
“Figure out how to learn and spark that interest [and] keep it going,” Budd said.
Karow has requested to teach four classes instead of the usual five. She said that her reason was trying to balance being both a mother and a teacher.
“I’m not sure how much people realize that teaching doesn’t happen just from 8:15 to 3:30,” Karow said. “Planning, grading, collaborating takes a ton of outside time.”
She believes that teaching 80 percent of a class schedule is a full-time job while 100 percent is more than a full-time job for most teachers.
However, teachers aren’t the only faculty members retiring this year; Steve Hope, the Associate Superintendent for Personnel and Technology for the District, is also retiring.
Hope has worked for the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District (MVLA) for 35 years, serving numerous roles for the district. Starting as a teacher at MVHS, Hope moved up to become an assistant principal and eventually principal of MVHS before finally settling in as an associate superintendent for the district.
In addition to serving as an associate superintendent, Hope has also served as the MVLA District’s chief negotiator. The district negotiator represents the district’s interests in all negotiations with the union. In his 16 years as chief negotiator, Hope’s negotiation skills have helped him achieve an excellent record of fewer than five grievances and zero unfair labor practices.
For his hard work and achievement, Hope was nominated for and awarded the Association of California School Administrators Negotiator of the Year Award last year. While he will be retaining his role as the district’s chief negotiator, Hope will be relinquishing his role as a district Assistant Superintendent to spend more time in retirement.
“I will miss working with the students [at our schools],” Hope said.
In retirement, Hope plans to focus on his other interests.
“[In my retirement, I plan on becoming more] involved with a couple of philanthropic foundations that make grants in the area of education,” Hope said.
“In addition, I am on the board of a non-profit that sends volunteers to Asia to teach and brings Asian medical students and social entrepreneurs to Stanford for short visits/trainings… I… love traveling and backpacking as well and hope to have more time for those activities.”
During his tenure with the MVLA district, Hope has worked extensively in both the schools and the community. He will be remembered for this dedication.
“[Steve Hope] has gone far above and beyond his district duties to serve the greater community through his involvement,” Superintendent Barry Groves said.