With 80 new teachers coming to Worthington this school year they come from many diverse backgrounds. Some are straight out of college, others come to Worthington having taught in another school district for the past few years. A few have taken non-traditional routes. Two of the teachers who have gone on a winding road, I have some personal connection with.
When I returned to Worthington schools five years ago as the Coordinator of Human Resources, I was contacted by Jason Savage. Jason and I grew-up together, played middle school basketball against one another, (he made the high school team, I was cut after try-outs…) and graduated from Worthington High School in the same class. We ran in the same circles but were never close. After high school I lost track of Jason but it turns out that he married a WKHS alum, Megan Baxter, his mother-in-law is a retired Worthington teacher, and his brother-in-law coaches for Worthington. Thus, he married into a family of educators, and when he and I talked, he told me he was considering giving up his career in sales to go back to school and get his teaching license.
My first thought, was whoaaaa! Think this through. Jason is married, has kids to support, and while there is nothing more important than having great teachers in the classroom, business teaching positions open in Worthington about once every 15 years. Thus, the odds of securing a position anywhere in Central Ohio teaching business were slim. Jason did it anyway. He took the leap with both feet and today he begins his journey as the new business teacher at TWHS. He brings 16 years of real business experience to his classroom and he’ll get to interact with, and influence, the next generation of business leaders in the halls he and I once walked together as students. Good thing he didn’t listen to me.
Similarly it was five years ago when Erica Hitzhusen walked into our HR office to inquire about substitute teaching. Erica had just moved to Colonial Hills and she wanted to inquire about teaching. Even though Erica had taught in New York and has a Masters degree in Science from Cornell, she was not licensed by the State of Ohio. Undaunted, Erica began working to obtain her Ohio license while also substitute teaching in science, and in any other area she was needed. Eventually she was asked to do every science long-term substitute position we had available, and whatever she did, she did well.
Five long years later, she is finally beginning as a full-time member of the Thomas Worthington Science department. She’s like a veteran on staff, and she has a unique ability to show great urgency and a relaxed “chill” at the same time. She easily connects with kids and she’s the parent of Worthington students.
Both Jason and Erica took a winding road to become Worthington teachers. As they begin this portion of their careers it is without question that both posses the wisdom that comes from life experience, and the fresh outlook, energy, and excitement, that comes from being a new teacher. They’re both already Worthingtonized and they care a great deal about this school district.
Now all they have to do is live up to this blog post. No pressure…