Publication Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Shaping the lives of 2,000 children
Shaping the lives of 2,000 children
(July 20, 2005) ** Teaching trio leaves Portola Valley School District.
By Marjorie Mader
Almanac Staff Writer
Portola Valley School District has lost a total of 99 years of teaching experience now that Alicia Seebold, Karen Hayes and Eloise Fredrickson Pollock have retired.
The trio has been hosted, toasted, a wee-bit roasted, and showered with flowers and poems as colleagues, students and their families expressed appreciation for the many ways the teachers helped shape the lives of more than 2,000 young children.
School trustees adopted commendatory resolutions, gave them azalea plants, and placed a copy of each teacher's favorite book in the school library in their honor.
For first-grade teacher Ms. Seebold, the book is "Wait til the Moon is Full" by Margaret Wise Brown; for kindergarten teacher Ms. Hayes, it's "James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl; and for fifth-grade teacher Ms. Pollock, it's the fantasy, "Ms. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH."
A Stanford graduate, Ms. Seebold began teaching in Portola Valley 43 years ago -- on September 4, 1962.
She used the new Sullivan method to teach all her first-graders to read, and she became known as a "Sullivan legend."
"Alicia could teach even a rock to read," colleagues said in admiration of her patience and skill in instilling a love of reading in her students.
Ms. Seebold introduced a Thanksgiving feast that became a tradition in the first grade at Ormondale. Students make Pilgrim hats of paper and prepare all the trimmings. She roasts the turkey.
Although many think of her as a model first-grade teacher, she began her career teaching second grade in the San Diego area. In Portola Valley, she taught third grade and first grade at Corte Madera, and at Ormondale, fifth grade for one year before returning to her favorite first grade.
When parents tearfully bring their "little sprouts" to kindergarten, Ms. Hayes takes the children into her classroom garden, where they grow happily with big books, big blocks, big crayons and her big heart, say parents and colleagues.
She is not only kind-hearted and patient, she's unflappable. She can handle anything, say colleagues.
Known for her Japanese fish prints (gyotaku), using a real fish, she helped children create their own fish paintings.
She's also known as a great cook and for sharing her recipes with faculty and parents. To celebrate Chinese New Year at Ormondale, she prepared fried won tons for all.
Ms. Hayes began her career in Portola Valley in 1969 as a reading teacher. She taught fifth, a fourth-fifth combination and third grades before settling into kindergarten at Ormondale.
Every day, Ms. Hayes commuted from Pescadero to Portola Valley, never missing a day despite earthquakes and storms.
In the fall of 1985, Eloise Marie Fredrickson was hired to bring to Portola Valley her skills and experience as a creative teacher of students in "gifted and talented" programs. She taught third grade at Ormondale, then fourth grade, and then a second-third-grade combination, before taking a leave to teach third grade at the American International School in Florence.
She returned to Portola Valley to teach fifth grade and to become, in the words of her colleagues, a "teachers' teacher."
She was a longtime member of the language arts team with teacher representatives from K-8; a promoter of what is known as "higher order thinking skills"; and a founding board member of the collaborative Mid-Peninsula Teachers Institute, which provided professional education to local teachers.
On the Ormondale playground, she met her future husband Ted Pollock, and they live in Portola Valley.
Most recently she had been job-sharing the fifth-grade teaching assignment at Corte Madera with Denise Falzon.
Now Ms. Pollock is moving into a career in real estate with Coldwell Banker in the Menlo Park office on Santa Cruz Avenue.
She is known for patience, kindness, optimism, and the ability to listen to the problems of children and their parents.
While the three teachers are leaving the district, Ms. Hayes says she will return to teach the art of fish printing, Ms. Seebold will lend her expertise in reading, and Ms. Pollock may even return to substitute for Denise Falzon.
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