Staffing Change Updates for Next School Year

Bjorklund leaves to pursue Ph.D. at Columbia University

History teacher Pete Bjorklund will not be returning next year.  Bjorklund plans to complete his masters and pursue a Ph.D. at Columbia in international comparative education.

“I want to study education in post-conflict society,” Bjorklund said. “[For instance], after a civil war, a conflict, genocide—how does education fit into the rebuilding processes of society and how can we use education as a tool for reconciliation to bring everybody back together again? I’ve always had an interest in conflict and genocide studies…I’ve [always] wanted to get a Ph.D.”

Bjorklund chose to study at Columbia for a number of reasons. Due to Columbia’s stringent admissions process, he must first obtain a masters in his field of study before applying again to the Ph.D. program.

“I got into other Ph.D. programs but I turned them down because Columbia is Columbia, and all the professors I know from other places all went through the [masters] process [prior to a Ph.D.],” Bjorklund said. “I think there are so many opportunities that New York offers for international work as well as starting in this program. At Columbia, they have a program specifically designed around post-conflict education, so I’m willing to take one step back in order to move forward because there’s going to be a lot more opportunities for me available.”

The Contemporary World Issues and World Studies teacher plans to finish his studies within four to five years and return to the Bay Area.

“Eventually, I’d love to come back here,” Bjorklund said. “I love it here—I plan on growing old and dying here. I’d love to come back and work at LAHS in a few years, but right now I feel like I want to go out and spread my wings and do a little more. Getting a Ph.D. has always been a dream of mine for years, and now I’m actively pursuing it. This is something I want to do and have a go at before I settle down and stay in a place and stop, but [when I do], I’ll definitely be here.”

Rosenberg leaves to teach at MVHS

After her first year at LAHS, Contemporary World Issues and Psychology teacher Carson Rosenberg will be leaving to teach U.S. History and AP Psychology at Mountain View High School (MVHS) for the 2014-2015 school year. 

The decision to switch schools was made by the district based on a need to fill positions in the MVHS social studies department for the coming school year. MVHS’s social studies department chair is switching to the full-time Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment coach position, while another social studies teacher is becoming the department’s Common Core literacy coach. This rearrangement of staff left three open teaching positions at MVHS.

“I was brought to LAHS to replace Mr. Freeman, and he’s coming back [next year],” Rosenberg said. “It wasn’t my choice to move to MVHS, but I wanted to stay in the district and the district felt that they needed me more at MVHS. [The district’s] concern was that it’s difficult to have four new people in a department that are not familiar with the district—it’s a lot of training and reincorporating. It’s easier if you move some people around who are already familiar with the district, and I did my student teaching at MVHS so I know their department very well.”

Rosenberg requested U.S. History as one of the courses she wanted to teach next year. In addition, she plans to prepare for teaching AP Psychology at MVHS by completing the AP Institute course at Stanford over the summer.

Following her year at MVHS, Rosenberg would like to stay in the district.

“I definitely want to stay in the district after next year,” Rosenberg said. “I’m interested in teaching at Alta Vista just to check out all three schools. I’d be happy to come back to LAHS, and I’m happy to do what the district needs as long as I can continue to work with students.”

Pearce retires from teaching

History teacher DeeDee Pearce will be retiring at the end of this year. Pearce stated that family reasons have compelled her to go into retirement. 

“My children are asking to see more of me,” Pearce said.

Though she still isn’t sure what she will do once she’s retired, Pearce did mention one undertaking: a 500-mile walk through Spain.  

“I walked 500 miles in Spain three years ago,” Pearce said. “I did a pilgrimage and I’ll do another one…It was probably the most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my life because it was very reflective. It seems like the perfect time for me to go back and reflect again.” 

Even in retirement, however, Pearce anticipates that she will be around the school.  

“It’s not in my DNA to retire, so I know that I won’t retire well,” Pearce said. “I love education, so I’ll be dabbling in volunteering here, working with some students. I would like to work with AP students, minority students.”

Over the course of her 29 years at the school, Pearce has been an instructional aide in the ESL Department and a teacher of numerous courses, including World Studies, AP European History, AP Psychology and Civics. 

“It’s been the most amazing journey,” Pearce said. ”I love what I do, I’ve always loved what I do. I’m very passionate about teaching and working with high schoolers and it’s very close to my heart. It’s an incredible environment….We have the greatest students, a great staff, we’re like a big family.”

Humphrey to return for first semester

After spending a year in Cleveland, Ohio, former history teacher John Humphrey will be returning for the first semester of the next school year. The half-year teaching plan is part of the state’s requirements for completing the retirement process, as Humphrey is required to leave teaching for a minimum of 182 days after he turns 60, which will be January 1 of next year.

“I have always loved teaching,” Humphrey said. “Teaching…is such a positive experience that it’s hard to walk away…I’m doing whatever I can to come back.”

Humphrey spent the past year recuperating in his hometown.

“I have ongoing health problems and I want to try to get better so I could resume teaching,” Humphrey said. 

Humphrey plans to teach two periods when he returns. The administration has yet to decide what classes Humphrey will teach next year.

“All the classes at LAHS are fun to teach, so it doesn’t really matter to me,” Humphrey said. 

Humphrey’s leave of absence has given him a fresh perspective and left him excited to return to day-to-day classroom teaching. 

“I miss working with students,” Humphrey said. “Being away has made me realize how important the work of teaching is. I’m really looking forward to working with LAHS students this fall.”