Thursday, March 19, 2009


Here, in electronic form, is the letter that went home today with the students in kindergarten. The letter didn't actually state this, so I state it clearly here: my retirement will occur in June, at the end of the current school year.

Dear Parents,

After 34 years of teaching—28 years in service to Dunham School—and with both my daughter and son graduated from college, I've decided to retire from classroom teaching while I'm still enjoying it. I decided to retire from the classroom before I'm too old to begin a new and varied part-time career outside of public education.

I look back with fondness, satisfaction, and gratitude for the opportunity to have taught here for so long. You have entrusted your children to me and given me the support I needed to teach each of them with individual attention and care.

Along with the rest of the country, Dunham faces economic, cultural, and environmental challenges in the years ahead. Responding to these challenges will require creativity and dedication. Fortunately, the Dunham School Community has effective leaders, talented and dedicated staff members, and a parent community offering generous and ready support.

Dunham was a fine little school when I first came on board in the fall of 1981, and it has improved since then. In the years ahead I believe it will continue to provide an exceptional educational environment.

In closing, I'd like to offer a thought. Above all, I've learned that kids don't care what you know until they know you care. Show your children that you care by giving them plenty of your undivided nonjudgmental mindful attention. Give yourself plenty of the same, too.


Mr. Gurney


Debbie T. said...

We are so lucky to have had you for three years with the kids and doubly grateful to be a part of your final year at Dunham. I have only to look at Nicky's beaming face and listen to his sweet voice as he sings 'Deeply Beautiful' or plays 'kids club' with his animals to know he is having a GREAT year. Saying 'you'll be missed' is such an understatement!

jacob k. said...

Dan, we are all sad to see you leave but forever grateful for knowing you as a wonderful teacher and friend. We have incredible respect for you as a teacher, parent and friend. I can't even imagine Dunham without you! We wish you and Sarah all the best!
The Keithley 5

Culmom37 said...

Good for you and congratulations on a decision I am sure was not easy to make. I wish you well on your future endeavors and know that you will be successful in whatever you choose to do. I am personally greatful for the dedication and love you showed Belle while she was in your class. I am extremely happy for you and wish you the best. With love...Tiffany

debrennersmith said...

Leaving on a healthy and happy note. Enjoy your next steps.

Dan Gurney said...

Thank you, Debbie! The missing will be mutual. I'll sing Deeply Beautiful as long as I'm able, maybe in hospice settings.

Dan Gurney said...

Hello, Keithleys,

Thank you for the kind words. I think Dunham will be fine without me. The only thing I worry about is the absence of men on the staff, but that's nothing new. I think the kindergarten will be in very capable hands.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Tiffany,

Thank you for the message. I appreciate all the support--and all the comments--you've brought my way. I'm being very brave (for me) to leave work I love, but I want to go on and begin related work in a new setting. It's going to be an adventure, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Lynola said...

Blessings in whatever you do next. I'm sad that you are retiring though, since I just recently found your blog, and as a relatively new Kindergarten teacher, I love finding ideas and insight from more experienced K teachers.

The Hazards said...

We wish you all the best in life. You are an inspiration to all of us with your wonderful work. It was an honor for Alex & Loren to have been in your class and had such a wonderful start in school. I am sad to know that Elsa and Moira will not have that same kindergarten experience. You have done so much for not only our boys, but my own confidence as well, remembering me after all those years. We will miss you terribly, and can't thank you enough for everything you have ever done for our family! God Bless you and your family.

The Hazards said...

We just wanted you to know that we wish you all the best in everything you do. Our boys had the honor of beginning their school carrers with you. The work you have done has been amazing. We are sad to see you go, especially since ours girls will not have the joyful experience of having you as their kindergarten teacher next year and again in three years. You have always gone above and beyond what most teachers would. You not only helped our boys but helped me with confidence in myself remembering me after all those years. You are truly an inspiration to us all. God Bless

The Hazards said...

Sorry about the double posts. My computer trips a little.

Dan Gurney said...

Hazards, thank you for your kind words and good wishes for my future. I still love teaching kindergarten, but as I've said before, I want to move along and do other things while I still feel energetic enough to do something.

As for Elsa and Moira, I am sure that they will have wonderful experiences in kindergarten with Ms. Fisher. She's been wanting to teach kindergarten for quite some time and had taught preschool prior to teaching at Dunham. She will not teach as I have, but will work wonders in her own way. She's a strong and deeply committed teacher in her own right, and I feel confident that she'll take over the helm from me and steer a steady course.

As to the double posts, you can say that again!