When I was hired by the Forest Grove School District 33 years ago, Herb Drew, a close family friend, told me, “Do a good job and you will have a job for the rest of your life.” He was right.

In those 33 years, I worked for five superintendents and seven different principals. I would like to thank these administrators for believing in me as an instructor and providing me the right tools to do my job. The stewardship that you provided to me and my fellow teachers always had the students’ well-being first and foremost.

As a beginning teacher at Neil Armstrong Jr. High in 1979, I could not have asked for better place to start my career. From a strong administrative team lead by Marv Mellbye, Larry McMacken and Ben Inscore and a wonderful staff, most had been there since the school’s inception.

Neil Armstrong was truly a community whose job was to prepare its students for Forest Grove High School. As a social studies teacher, I had the privilege to work with some great social studies teachers: Don Young, Lois Johnston, Merl Saunders, Bob Beissel, Jim Hurley and Don Anson.

After four years there, I moved to Tom McCall Middle School as the school district moved to the Middle School Education Model. At this time in my career, the administrators Dan Rodriguez, Thelma Ruepell, Rob Thomason and Stan Pace challenged me to take a more significant role in the operation in the school. Thank you for believing in me.

In my time there I became the athletic director, a position that I kept for the next 10 years. I believe that during this time I grew the most as a teacher. The staff at Tom McCall was fabulous. Because the middle school model incorporated sixth grade into the mix, I was now witness to fabulous instruction from our sixth-grade teachers: Christine Kidd, Judy Kellems, Bill Kraus, Brian Hawkins and David Glowaki. Along with Sherry Logan, Cathy Ventura, Susan Taylor, Norene Rock, Erin Linhares, Hank Zeagler, Mike McCabe, Don Anson, Jim Linhares, Rob Bush and Paul Burnett, education magic was made on a daily basis.

In 1997, I moved to the high school. To the three principals I worked for — Bob Schlegel, John O’Neill and Karen Robinson — I would like to thank you for the opportunities that you gave me as a teacher and as the activity director.

I was reacquainted with some of the excellent teachers from Neil Armstrong: Don Young and Bob Beisell. I was also influenced by Jeff Basinski, Bob Haack, Laurel Kaufman, Mike Fitzgibbons, Pete Truax, Ross Poff, Leonard Ostwalt, Joe Baumgartner, Doug Thompson, David Thoma, Ralph Schubothe, Sue Fleskes, Lee O’Banion, Eric Larsen, Ron Thompson, Luke Holscher and Gary McJunkin.

In my 15 years at the high school, these teachers shaped my teaching in very significant ways. I became a better teacher because of their abilities and their willingness to put kids first. You are all remarkable teachers and I consider myself lucky to be your colleague.

The mention of all of these names is very central to me. I believe it is important to give credit where credit is deserved.

All of these teachers served as great role models for me. At the end of this last school year, I received many accolades and gifts. To the Forest Grove High School administration, thank you for the beautiful letterman’s jacket and performing arts card.

To the current Social Studies Department — Scott McCahon, Bob Wismer, Laura Lewis, Trevor, Tusow, Dan Lumpkin and Bert Wilberger — your gift was perfect; thank you. But more importantly, your friendship and collegiality over these last seven years will be missed. All of you are outstanding teachers and it was a privilege to work with you each day.

The book presented by the leadership students is a treasure. Thank you, Kaihli Rutledge, for your efforts in putting this together.

And last but not least, I would like to thank the parents and students of Forest Grove High School — it was an unbelievable ride. It was privilege and pleasure to serve as your teacher. Thank you so much.

Howard Sullivan retired from the Forest Grove School District in June.

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