I just learned that one of my co-workers from my first school passed away on Monday from lung cancer.
Sandy was a retired principal who took on a Title 1 position at my school. My “mentor” was the district-wide “mentor” for all the new teachers in the district, so I saw her maybe 4 times. Sandy didn’t have her own classroom or office. I offered my student computers and printer for her use during her planning period because we didn’t use it then. She became the mentor I should have had, listening to me when I was stressed and reassuring me when I had self-doubt. She was an advocate for children in really rough situations, and really inspired me in how she faced those very scary situations head on for the kids. When things went awry because of the way our charter school was run and I lost my position due to standing up for what I felt was right, she encouraged me, wrote me a recommendation letter, and most of all checked in on me once I was back on my feet. She was a foster home for abused and abandoned dogs after she went into real retirement. I am so sad she’s gone. She never even shared her cancer diagnosis with those outside of her family, so it came as a pretty big shock.