Big Shoes to Fill – April 11, 2012

As the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” These words are a fitting sentiment for the news that we received last month: our wonderful Kindergarten teacher, Lois Holl, wil be retiring at the end of the school year. While we are sad to lose her, we are also so happy for Mrs. Holl who can look back on her time at Beechwood and feel proud of her accomplishments. In her 16 years here, she touched the lives of over 175 different boys and girls and countless families. She will be greatly missed.

Walking into Mrs. Holl’s room, you could always feel her deep sense of caring for children and her passion for helping 5-year-olds get off to a good start at Beechwood School. More than anything, Mrs. Holl has been dedicated to the idea that children learn many of the necessary lessons in life through discovery and play. Kindergarten should be a time of wonder and joy and it is a teacher’s job to see that learning takes place within that context. That is why her classroom is full, not only of books and crayons and markers, but of dress-ups, legos and toy dinosaurs as well. So many magical moments occur during play and she remained committed to that idea throughout her time at our school.

What you may not realize, is that Mrs. Holl has been teaching school for over 40 years, all the while raising a beautiful family! I thought it might be enjoyable for all of you to read about some of the highlights of her life (so far!). Here they are, in her own words:

“I received my training through the Lutheran University system, graduating in 1965. My teaching career began in Fremont, Nebraska teaching 3rd grade one year and 1st grade for two years. I returned to California and taught grades 1-3 in San Francisco for 4 years. I met my husband Dimitry there and we married in 1970. We moved to the Peninsula in 1972 and our daughter, Laura was born in 1974 followed by our son Tim in 1977. I resumed teaching Kindergarten at Bethany Lutheran School in Menlo Park for 6 years. From there I spent 3 years teaching Kinders in Cupertino and then it was on to Keys School in Palo Alto teaching Kindergarten and First Grade. My last position – my total favorite – has been here at Beechwood, beginning in 1995 and continuing to this day. I taught Kinderprep the first year and then Kindergarten after that. I have loved working with the wonderful staff, families and children. I will miss this experience greatly but I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, especially my three grandchildren.”

How fortunate we are that Lois Holl’s journey through life brought her to Beechwood School. Her work ethic, creativity, patience, open-mindedness and dedication to her craft have been a model for her fellow teachers to follow. It is hard to imagine a Beechwood without her. We will do our part to keep her spirit alive and look forward to having her visit us on a regular basis. Well done, Mrs. Holl. Well done.

-Mr. Laurance