NOTE: In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Fordham Ohio staffers will be blogging about teachers, principals, and guidance counselors who made a positive difference in their schooling and in their lives. This is the first post. The second post can be found here; the third can be found here; the fourth (which also celebrates National Charter Schools Week) can be found here.
When you’re working in education policy, it can be easy to forget that, ultimately, teachers not state law have the biggest impact on students. Looking back at my own life, I can think of a half dozen educators that not only taught me an incredible amount but also transformed the way I learned and thought. Teacher appreciation week seems like a perfect time to recognize one of those teachers.
My fourth grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in Clinton, Iowa, was Mrs. Sherwood. Donna Sherwood, I had to search for her first name as she’s only ever been Mrs. Sherwood to me, was a tough teacher. She was demanding, and, in retrospect, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make her life easy.
Fourth grade was my first year at Longfellow. I’d moved from a smaller town,...