UPDATED: Das Williams sent in his reply several days ago and I have now included it.
I am starting a new weekly feature where I ask the candidates for the 35th State Assembly District a question and then I post their replies.
This week I asked them to name some of the most influential teachers in their lives. Susan Jordan and Daniel Goldberg replied to my questions. Please read through their replies and then leave a comment with your thoughts. You don't need to register to comment but keep it classy.
Das Williams and Mike Stoker have not replied yet but I will add their thoughts if they send them in.
I appreciate the time of the candidates that sent in their replies. Please show them your appreciation by checking out their platforms, becoming a fan on Facebook, voting in the poll, or posting a comment. Show some appreciation for their time, especially for Susan Jordan's extended answer , and I am sure they will be back again.
The most influential teachers in my life:
I would have to start with the nuns at the St. Lawrence School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, starting with the Mother Superior, Sister Mary Nazareth and Sister Theresa. As the only child in my Catholic school who was being raised by a divorced working mother, my early years in Catholic School provided a strong framework for my work ethic and self-discipline. I became responsible at a very early age for tracking and completing my school assignments which was an important early lesson in independence and follow through. Also, the Mother Superior selected me as the student who would clean her office. Being selected for such a responsibility was a high honor and I felt empowered knowing that she had such tremendous confidence in me.
In undergraduate school, I was most influenced by the poet Robert Creeley and literature professor Art Efron. I was an admirer of Creeley's poetry and when I learned that he was teaching at the State University of New York at Buffalo, I chose that campus to complete my undergraduate liberal arts degree. His classes, held in a freezing trailer, consisted mostly of graduate students. I was inspired by his honesty and his dedication to fostering creativity in his students. We were not expected to accept the status quo but encouraged to test our boundaries and create our own interpretations of important works of literature regardless of the critics. I was also very lucky to be accepted into Dr. Efron's graduate literature class that met at his home. The debate was lively and though I was the lone undergraduate, I felt that my views and interpretations were valued on an equal basis. The exploration of a range of themes - political, social, historical in literature gave my literature studies their first strong sense of the important role that politics plays in literature and every day life.
Finally, at graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, I was most inspired by the woman who headed the University's Student Health Center. I regret that I cannot recall her name. What I do recall is the confidence she demonstrated in my judgment and her commitment to providing the students that used the Student Health Center the best information and treatment available. Under her supervision of my internship for my Master's in Social Work, I was allowed to create and teach the Student Health Center's first programs on reproduction, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases to my fellow students. I understood the importance of access to medical information early on and it informs my goals to this day. Access is power.
I have several teachers that influenced me at my time at Santa Barbara City College. I was 17 and it was the year I moved out of my volkswagon bus into an apartment, first started in politics and became a Christian. Dr. Craig Fusaro (who now leads efforts to restore local fish species) taught me Environmental Science with an emphasis on the SCIENCE, Dr. John Kay taught me the basics of government, Dr. Peter Haslund international relations and Dr. Manou Eskandari taught me how to teach. I also did not graduate high school and had no money, so the three poly sci professors I just named helped me get a modest scholarship to go to UC Berkeley.
I wouldn't say I have an influential teacher. If anyone really was influential, it was my Dad. He's a business owner and good man. He always taught me to be a good person and follow the law. He always taught me that you get what you want by working hard. He would be the most influential person in my life.
In the comments section you can leave suggestions for comments for next week.