DOWNEY - Once in a lifetime someone walks into your life who makes an impact in your world. That man would be Rob Hecker.It began some 12 years ago, when I needed to hire an English teacher and the Superintendent of Certificated Personnel unofficially warned me that, "He has a ponytail." Rob is truly a man of character. His life is led by his love and commitment to family, job and friends. He moves through each day as a living homage to his belief that he wants to leave this world a better place for all who surround him. In first talking with Rob, I found out that he and his family had been active donors and supporters for the Locks of Love program, as well as many other philanthropic causes. He often expresses the idea that our continuation high school students not only need, but deserve, the very best teachers that the district has to offer. Somewhere these children had been forgotten or failed and it is his job to help them find that English is both functional and fascinating. He makes his class come alive to the point that even the most hardened gang member is comfortable and accepted enough to take a chance at reading, explaining or sharing Shakespeare or a personal poem. His impact on his students has only been positive. When frustrated with a new student who may be particularly challenging, Rob's approach has been to get to the core of the matter that is holding the student back. Students trust in his word and he is a man of his word. What he lacks in bravado, he balances in brain. What he may lack in being boisterous, he balances in being humble. When others may have a career curriculum vitae of activities that they may have touched upon here or there, he has a full resume of meaningful accomplishments that he partook of wholeheartedly. He lives his life with meaning. I have no doubt that Rob Hecker is the best candidate and educator to be awarded the 2013 California Teacher of the Year!
********** Published: September 27, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 24