Departing teachers leave behind long lasting legacy

Anna Poznyak

During the 2015-2016 school year, Grady students will not see the familiar faces of several teachers. Among those departing are social science teachers Louis Sartor and Malik Bostic; Career, Technical and Agricultural Education teachers Patricia Kendall and Tracy Swift; Southerner adviser David Winter; and Georgia College and Career adviser Tenisha Peterson

Louis Sartor sees his 23 consecutive years teaching as one of his greatest accomplishments, a record that “only Ms. Willoughby can beat.” Sartor said his experience as a teacher has had a profound impact on his personality. Teaching young adults has made him more patient and detail-attentive, has taught him the importance of humor and has made him a good listener.

“It made me a more empathetic person; it made me understand that people come from all various kinds of backgrounds and experiences, and [that] people handle challenges and obstacles in different ways,” Sartor said. “I try to learn from that.”

Sartor said he believes Grady is a special school and workplace. Even though being a teacher may be a challenging experience, Sartor believes that teachers at Grady are still given lots of freedom.

“Essentially it’s still you, the teacher, in the classroom with a number of young adults,” Sartor said. “And no matter what’s happening on the outside, you can still be effective as a teacher on the inside of the classroom.”

One of the brightest moments of Sartor’s career was serving as one of the teaching advisers of the mock trial team that won the state championship in 2000.

In the near future, Sartor plans to move to Maine in search of “new weather conditions and political views.” He wants to take a gap year before his next step and devote his time to his bike and his three dogs.

While Sartor scheduled his resignation, CTAE teacher Patricia Kendall found out just before spring break that she won’t have a job next year. Kendall said no teacher will be protected from school system cutbacks in personnel.

“I’m one of the people who’s considered superfluous in what [they] are teaching,” Kendall said.

Kendall entered Grady in 2003. Prior to her teaching career, she worked at Disney Studios in its film editing department. She then freelanced as a photographer and was involved in the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation as an in-house graphic designer.

Kendall’s training in graphic design and digital technology helped her define the graphic design pathway during her 12 years at Grady. The fact that most of her students had no experience in computer graphics inspired Kendall to share her passion and knowledge of the profession. One of her favorite aspects of teaching is seeing the discoveries made by students.

“I hope that [graphic design students] will continue to be that outgrowth,” Kendall said. “[I hope] that whatever I have taught to students, they continue to move it forward and keep perpetuating the sup- port that the school needs.”

Meanwhile, several students participating in the graphic design pathway said they don’t treat this involvement as just another an hour-and-a-half in class.

“We have represented Grady in so many ways since beginning to take this class,” sophomore Victoria Munoz said. “I feel like this class is very important. Thanks to graphic design we have prom invitations.

One other thing that we’re doing in class right now is designing personal logos that we can use later on in life. She is trying to teach you [things] that we’re gonna need in life.”

Collaborating with both teachers and students helped Kendall learn a lot about herself, in particular that “no man is an island.” Kendall sees defining, maintaining and cultivating the graphic design pathway among her greatest accomplishments while at Grady.

With Kendall leaving, the future of Grady graphic design is uncertain. Even though there is no definite decision regarding the pathway’s fate, there is little chance that it will be unified with Paul Nichol- son’s graphic communications, according to Kendall.

“Apparently, people in a graphic design community in Atlanta need to do a better job with outreach to the high schools be- cause that doesn’t seem to be as much of an interest [at Grady],” Kendall said.

Kendall doesn’t have a “clever answer” regarding her next plans, but she’s deter- mined to move forward.

“Sometimes, when a door closes behind us, we are a little too focused on that door being closed than in looking in front of us and realizing … that there is something ahead.” Kendall said. “A door has been opened for me. Unexpectedly, but there it is.”