From the desk of Dr. Kirk Lewis

Updates from the Superintendent

Educator’s Mt. Rushmore


It rankles deep in the core of me when I hear a politician say that America’s public schools are failing. It is a broadly-stroked, thinly-veiled statement made for political gain that marginalizes the amazing work of teachers in every school across this country. We spend too much time denigrating the work of our educators, making their jobs more difficult through all the federal and state mandates that take time away from teaching and learning.

I thought this week about the presidents immortalized in granite at Mt. Rushmore. If I had my own South Dakota mountain, I’d carve the faces of four educators who impacted my life in such a strong way.

First, you’d see Ms. Wallace, a 3rd grade teacher who gathered fragments of my self-esteem and drew confidence from the inner soul of an insecure and shy boy. Second, Mr. Satterwhite, a junior school administrator who, with a sad shake of his head, let me know my behavior as a leader on campus had failed to meet his expectations; that  he held me to a higher standard because of who he thought I could become. Thirdly, Ms. Falk, a senior English teacher who would not accept second-rate work…ever…and repeatedly handed back an assignment until I had satisfied her expectations. Finally, Mr. Watts, a government teacher who taught me to look deeper, think harder and accept nothing at face value.

America’s schools are not perfect. Because of teachers and principals like those on my Mt. Rushmore, they are better than most alternatives for most students. I’m grateful to a Pasadena ISD community that recognizes the contributions of its outstanding educators.

Who’s on your educator’s Mt. Rushmore? Respond to this blog and let us know.

Author: Dr. Kirk Lewis

Dr. Kirk Lewis serves as Superintendent of the Pasadena Independent School District, a position he has held since April, 2006. Over the past 26 years Dr. Lewis has served as the Deputy Superintendent for Administration, Public Relations and Governmental Affairs; Executive Director for Communications and Community Relations; and Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent.

3 thoughts on “Educator’s Mt. Rushmore

  1. My educator Mt. Rushmore are the following . . . Mrs. Regions, my third grade teacher at Stuchberry Elementary who helped me through difficult times, Mrs. Charba my fifth grade teacher who visited me in the hospital the first two weeks of school to teach me what I missed, and finally, Mr. Golenko who I am sure is on many people’s Mt. Rushmore, a smarter, more fair, caring wonderful person all would be so lucky to meet.

  2. I’m a little behind in reading and posting but my Mount Rushmore would include:
    Carrie Petrini, my 1st grade teacher at South Houston Elementary, who made a nerdy bookworm feel like a brilliant genius! 🙂 Miss Susan Tait, also So Ho Elementary, who took me out in the hall once and told me how important it was to recognize my self-worth and stand up to my doubters. (She also loaned me all of her “Little House on the Prairie” books, one at a time, that year!) Mrs. Carol Weston who was my chemistry teacher at South Houston High School–I was an abysmal chemistry student (!) but she loved me anyway and always encouraged me. We stayed in touch even as I became a teacher years in the future. And Ms. Sally Schott, a choir director of the highest caliber, who is a legendary Texas choral director and who certainly could’ve taught anywhere–but spent a career in the tiny city of South Houston and changed the lives of 30 generations of students. She is still my hero and I am blessed that we are still in touch. God bless all the teachers that give the very heart of themselves to their students all across this great country. And may He comfort the grieving in Connecticut.

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