With school starting, I asked Jackson folk, “While attending school in Jackson Hole, is there a teacher who influenced your life in a positive way?” I was overwhelmed by the response.
Jimbo Rooks named Fred Staehr. Fred was not only an outstanding math teacher, he also was a coach, mentor, role model and friend. He was unique in that he wasn’t just committed to you as a student, but also as an adult. Ted Dawson and Robin Winters, felt the same way. Jimbo says Fred impacted his own teaching.
Brady Jones liked Craig Fleuter. Brady went through a rough patch in high school and went to Mr. Fleuter for advice. He was always there to help, Brady said, and was a great teacher and a great friend.
Tom Foust said Margaret Mills taught him to wash his own clothes, mend them, cook for himself and balance a checkbook. Thanks to her, he knows what a stain lifter is and can even bake a cake. Margaret and Wayne Mills recently moved to Big Timber, Montana, after living in Jackson Hole for 43 years.
A teacher John Thorkildsen liked was Arwin Grant. John said Mr. Grant believed in him, knew he could do better and challenged him.
Matt Allison believes Tom Dunham is the reason he remained a lifelong drummer.
Sharon Dockham Nethercott said Patty Ewing not only taught her the values of English, but taught her two boys as well. Outside the classroom she taught the importance of speaking up and making the community a better place. Cheryl Staley remembered how Patty taught French in the old high school. Before Patty and Frank Ewing married, Frank would park and walk up to the window so they would talk for a minute. Everyone thought it was terribly romantic. Patty was Miss Devereaux back then.
Kathy Anne spotlighted Rudy Sanford. He guided her through eighth-grade math, and when her freshman algebra teacher didn’t give her the attention she needed, Mr. Sanford volunteered two hours each week to make sure she got through. He was an excellent basketball coach, quite professional and a family friend who remains a friend to this day, she said.
Nikki Thompson felt Amy Rizzi Asbell and Ann Carruth made positive impacts on her life. They were always pushing her in a supportive manner to be the best she could be.
Traci Owen Hipsher said hands down her favorite teacher was Jenny Stark, though she also mentioned Ann Carruth and Margaret Mills.
Jasper Lawson commented that Terry Roice treated him with respect and dignity that he had not experienced in the school system up until then. Jasper went from being a very rebellious, troubled kid to a successful adult, largely due to Terry, he said.
Russel Smith named Lynn Williams (aka Burr Head) as an outstanding teacher. He taught more than metal shop; he truly taught life lessons. He influenced Russel so much that he made a career in the metal fabrication industry that has taken him around the world. Joseph Watsabaugh said Lynne was the only teacher to engage his students completely. The instruction they received gave them confidence in the skills they learned. Jim Coonce was important, too, because he required the best effort from all and accepted no less.
Marybeth Basye said Les Bishop was a mentor for many years.
Robin Miller said Mari Auman was important in her life. She knew how to connect to the lessons, and she was a lot of fun.
Amanda Macfarlane loved Juanita McGhee, who taught her in kindergarten. Others who had a huge influence on her in high school were Paul Kraft and Bill Hungate.
Jami Owen Jungck’s favorite teacher was Mary Langdon in fifth grade. Jami said Mary listened to the kids and took genuine interest in their lives. She created fun hands-on activities. On the last day of school she invited the class on a field trip to her home.
Benny Wilson, who attended Wilson Elementary School, remembers Susan Chambers because she made the students read “The Hobbit.”
Joanne Grant was mentioned over and over as being a favorite teacher.
Bill Seaton liked Bill “Mac” McIntosh and Cecil Campbell. A job came up with Mountain Bell during Bill’s senior year. Mac went to Mr. Campbell, the electronics teacher, for his input. They pulled Bill out of English class for a job interview, and Mac got Bill’s class schedule changed so Bill could take the job. Bill’s whole life changed. He has spent 45 years in the telecom industry. Those teachers made a huge difference to students who did not go to college.
Dawn Kent had Jean Homec Staehr for freshman English. She was young, confident and beautiful, and she didn’t put up with any nonsense. She gave Dawn the key to understanding Shakespeare, for which she has always been grateful.
Jade Logan said Jimbo Rooks was one of the only teachers who taught his students to survive in the real world. They learned to speak up for themselves, and Jim always made class interesting.