I met Morgan (now my wife of almost 18 years) at Cal Poly. She had just graduated high school and as we were getting to know each other, she would often tell these fond stories of what seemed to me like a mythical place. She claimed to have gone to a high school where students were mostly kind to one another and many of them would return to teach there after college… a high school where you might hear the fight song as you were walking through campus and you’d quickly run to join in… a high school where homecoming week meant hours of work every evening building floats, painting posters, and decorating just about every possible space on campus… a high school where the athletic teams often won championships, and it wouldn’t be unusual to see a student walking a sheep across the quad… a place that felt more like a family than a school. I smiled and nodded and sometimes rolled my eyes. I mostly just wanted her to like me.
In 2006 we moved back to Loomis and Morgan became one of those fabled Del Oro grads who returned to the school to teach. I was brought into the Del Oro family by marriage and I quickly started soaking it up. I went to football, basketball and soccer games, staff parties, choir and dance shows, and the band spectacular. I brought our 1 year old daughter out to homecoming work nights and let her cruise around with some of Morgan’s students. I even chaperoned a few dances. I was sold. It was clear that there was something really special about this place. I was incredibly grateful that my own children would get to go here. I knew that I wanted to be part of this community for the rest of my life. So I went back to school to get a teaching credential. To borrow a line from a friend and colleague, I didn’t do this because I wanted to be a teacher; I did it because I wanted to be a Del Oro teacher… I wanted to be part of this family.
I did my student teaching here in Cardio Health and PE and learned the ropes from legends like Jerry Van Lengen, Geoff Broyles, Candis Bailey, Steve Birch, and Jill Butler. When a technology teaching job became available, I jumped at the opportunity and got a tech credential. As I’ve worked here over the last several years, first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal, I have grown to cherish this community even more. I love Del Oro. I love the feeling on the first day of school when the 9th graders enter the gym to the sounds of deafening applause. I love being part of this Del Oro community that is committed to excellence; where teachers are passionate about their subjects and students and are willing to disagree on an issue but still love one another. I love showing up early in the morning and stepping out of my car to the sounds of the band practicing. I love that the entire town of Loomis shuts down for the Homecoming parade. I love overhearing old men and women sitting outside of Loomis coffee shops talking about the recent achievements of Del Oro sports teams. Del Oro is the best place I’ve ever worked… but I’ve got some hard news to share.
I found out two weeks ago that I won’t be at Del Oro next year. With budget cuts and a hiring freeze in our district, I will be taking on a one-year assignment as an Assistant Principal at Foresthill High School, overseeing athletics, and teaching a little PE and Health. I happen to be the only administrator with a PE credential who can fill this need. When I first heard the news it was pretty raw. It wasn’t just that I would be leaving a job that I loved or having to say goodbye to colleagues who have become dear friends. This place really has become like my home. My daughter who has been hanging around here with her parents since she was a baby, will be starting school here as a freshman next year. My three boys have grown up practicing soccer on the fields here, learning to swim in the new pool, and making way too much noise as they’ve charged through the halls like they own the place. In a few years, they too will be working their way through school here.
I’ve been up to Foresthill a few times over the last two weeks to check out the area and to walk the town and the campus. I picked up a few Foresthill Wildfire polos and I even joined in a virtual staff meeting. There are some fantastic people who work there and I know that I’m going to find a rhythm that will feel life-giving. The small school feel and the different demographic of students may prove really refreshing. It’ll certainly be an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
As I transition into this new role at Foresthill High School, there are two things that I know for sure. First, I’m better because of my connections and experiences at Del Oro, and second, the faculty and staff at Del Oro will take great care of my family while I’m away.
Thank you, Del Oro.