One of the nice things about attending school board meetings is learning about some of the wonderful things teachers, schools, and/or students are doing. There is always something that amazes me. At yesterday's Porterville Unified School District Board Meeting, I smiled at several things. A girl from Monache High won state champion at a competition in San Diego - the only girl there, beating dozens of boys - more on that later., several other kids saw the ocean for the first time. A Harmony Magnet Academy student, Dalton Rogers, said some pretty impressive words as he addressed the PUSD Trustees.
But what was very exciting was when Dr. John Snavely mentioned that once again the "Teacher of the Year" was from Porterville. That alone was great news. When he said the name - I literally gasped and my heart felt as if it skipped a beat. Jim Kusserow. Wow! It was wonderful news. I went to school with Jim Kusserow, marched in the band with him and graduated with him. I admire him and love that he returned to PHS to take over after Buck Shaffer retired.
I still remember when he invited me to travel with the band on their East Coast Tour - and again to travel with them to the Rose Parade. I've covered the Fabulous Studio Band during their Pacific NorthWest Tour.
But the one that stands out the most is when we were in Shinnston, West Virgina, Buck Shaffer's home town. The band was playing at the Fire Department on Father's Day. It was an amazing concert - an amazing, unforgettable trip. That day, Jim Kusserow said something simple that stayed with me and made me admire him even more. He was talking about Buck Shaffer when he said it.
"There is no place I'd rather be than to follow in the footsteps of the greatest high school music instructor I have ever known - and I've known some really good ones." -- Jim Kusserow, Shinnston, W.V.
Congratulations Jim Kusserow for being named Tulare County Teacher of the Year! Definitely well deserved.