Faculty tell what makes them proud to teach at Handley
Posted: November 15, 2012
The Winchester Star
After teaching in Memphis, Tenn., Handley High School revitalized Crystal Ashley’s enthusiasm for the classroom.
“Professionally, this school has saved me,” said the 25-year-old 10th-grade English teacher, who is in her second year at the Winchester school.
The building was beautiful, teachers received great support from other faculty and administration, and students were respectful, she said.
This summer, new Principal Jesse Dingle met with faculty and asked what made them most proud to teach at Handley.
Responses like Ashley’s were more the norm than the anomaly.
For Debra Washington, 52-year-old physical education teacher and graduate of Handley, there was no other place she wanted to teach or send her children to school.
When she goes other places, people understand her pride.
“They know it,” she said. “They know Handley High School everywhere. You carry this sense of pride wherever you go. You say ‘Handley Pride,’ they know what you’re talking about. There’s no other sense of pride than Handley’s.”
“Handley Pride” and community spirit topped the list of things of which teachers were most proud. Rounding out the list were supportive relationships with students; the building itself, teaching and extra-curricular activities spaces; the relationships between and among staff members; high-achieving students; and “incredible” teaching staff.
For 57-year-old Mary Tedrow, who has taught at Handley for five years and who chairs the English department, the school’s diversity was the main reason she sent her children there.
“I wanted them to get to know kids from all walks of life,” she said.
Donald Finley, 57, a student support specialist of seven years, said, “It’s the family feeling I get working here.”
Looking out over the football field from the steps of Handley on Wednesday, Finley spread his arms wide.
“This says it all right here,” he said.
The “big castle on the hill” received much praise from teachers, who said that students share their admiration of the building by respecting the artwork in the hallways and keeping the school graffiti-free.
“They really do love this building,” Tedrow said. “Going to other schools makes them appreciate what they’ve got here.”
Washington said she will grow old with the building.
“I don’t want to teach anywhere else,” she said. “This is it for me.”
— Contact Rebecca Layne at firstname.lastname@example.org