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Andy Kwok says goodbye to Mack, CA and you

Andy Kwok, a high school science teacher who let us shadow him during his rookie year (2007-08) at EXCEL High School at McClymonds, is leaving his West Oakland classroom and heading to graduate school at the University of Michigan. -Katy

Andy Kwok, EXCEL High School teacher, in 2009

Salutations readers,

It has officially been three years since first allowing the Tribune access to my initial journey into life as a teacher and all the mistakes that subsequently ensued. Having moved to the Bay Area from the Midwest, I was bright-eyed and idealistic after graduating college. At the time, I didn’t fully comprehend what I had gotten myself into, but in retrospect, I do not regret my experience with the Tribune one bit. I have enjoyed this opportunity to share a glimpse of my life, so that readers would see the difficulties that are present within schools while shedding light on an educational system that will continue to need help.

After three years of teaching, I have made the decision to leave the classroom and attend graduate school at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, my Alma Mater. There, I will be pursuing a PhD in Educational Studies, focusing on Science Education. Though I am temporarily leaving the classroom, I know I could never leave education after my experiences. Through the trials of behavior management, high school dropouts, and gang violence, I have endured a stress that I have never encountered and would never wish upon someone else. Yet, these students see such things and worse every day and thankfully many of them are able to rise above those obstacles.

Fortunately, there are periods of utter joy: seeing a teenage mother graduate, a gang member step away, and an athlete become a student-athlete. When I see graduates flourish in college and come back to share their wisdom with upcoming students, it serves as further affirmation of our hard work as teachers.

Though I am saddened to leave the Bay Area and the chance to continue
working with West Oakland, I am excited to make a more systemic change. (Note: I am not at all excited to go back to the harsh winters and having to buy a new wardrobe full of winter clothes.) These three years felt like dog years, but I have gained so much insight into the educational system and I hope to build upon it. I hope my new endeavors will provide me the opportunity to develop an efficient science curriculum for teachers or educate them on how to teach to the urban student subset and hopefully lighten their workloads, potentially resulting in increased teacher retention rates.

Readers, I want to thank you for your support these last three years. It has been such a blessing for me to share my thoughts and life in such a grand outlet. I still find it ridiculous that anyone would want to read anything about me, but the support and kind words that have been sent my way have been greatly appreciated. So with that, take care Bay Area and I know great things will be in store for you in the future. Go Mack! Go Blue!

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    I wish these departing teachers would write a book about their experiences at OUSD schools. I’d like to know more.

    There is no reason OUSD can’t create schools within OUSD that don’t feature “gang violence”. Good students shouldn’t have to go to schools with “gang violence”. And in Piedmont, they don’t.

  • Sue

    Good luck, Andy. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    While you didn’t teach either of my children, you remind me of so many of the teachers that did, and so many of the aides who supported my autistic son in the classroom and outside it. Many of them have also left OUSD to pursue advanced degrees.

    I’m sure that you, like all of them, will have a terrific future career, and will continue to help make education (and/or disability education) better than it is today.

  • Deborah Washington

    Thanks Andy! It is a good thing your optimism shines through.Do come back or share your experience when you get your advanced degree. Sciernce education is critical. Interesting as you leave Oakland’s board decides it needs to require science instruction at the elementary level. Gee Yah think! Good Luck! Keep the Faith.

  • Liz Martin

    Yay Andy! You are a rockstar! It was a pleasure working with you in the beginning of our career as educators. Can’t wait for you to start creating science curriculum that I can use in the OUSD classroom that will blow the kids minds. Good luck!

  • Cranky Teacher

    Thank you for your service, Andy, and for sharing.

    But let’s not gild the lily, folks — academics working on refined curriculum can’t stem the endless turnover that plagues school like Mack.

    The Andy Kwoks of Oakland will continue to stream away to other opportunities, gone just at the moment where they’ve actually translated enthusiasm and passion into modest yet, in the circumstances, heroic competence.

    We see it every year, although the recession may slow it a bit. Andy tells us why:

    “I have endured a stress that I have never encountered and would never wish upon someone else.”

    Wait, didn’t he know teachers are coddled and get Summer vacation?

  • J.R.

    Andy has got heart, and it’s a sad fact that all over the state young competent teachers are being “RIF’ed” just because well……… they’re young. One disturbing habit I have found in “tenured” subpar teachers is they don’t stick very closely to curriculum standards(which are among the most stringent in the fifty states). Consequently their grade-books are sparse and haphazard. On the other hand these young teachers(on the whole) have had very stringent standards to achieve while becoming teachers and thus are trained to follow the curriculum standards fairly strictly(not much deviation there)they fear being discharged(all of us who work in the real world know this fear). These strict policy changes were due to NCLB which was put in place to ensure that all teachers would be highly qualified(experience is just not enough, you need competence, intelligence and patience to be the best)some teachers just don’t(or never did have what it takes)and they picked the wrong profession.Unfortunately were are stuck with them, and even more sadly the kids are paying the price for it.

  • J.R.

    Cranky,
    Just so you know, I think the great teachers deserve more money, and yes they deserve to to have summers off too. The teachers that take the “path of least resistance” are the problem here. I wouldn’t want anyone making my profession look bad, why do you tolerate it? Why does your union?

  • Oakland Teacher

    I am going to answer the question asked above in #7. I feel terrible when I see a teacher who is not doing a good job or relates poorly to the kids. But it is not up to me to “tolerate it” or not; it is not my choice who is hired or fired. I know that principals do not want to hear what I may think of other staff. I don’t want to speak for my union, but part of their role is to make sure that process is followed when dealing with members. No, it obviously is not a perfect arrangement, but I am glad to know they are there if I should ever have a principal with whom I have differences of style or is vindictive in some way for whatever reason.

    I was not going to contribute on this post because it seemed like Andy was getting such positive feedback. I went through the same thing when Dan mentioned he was leaving. We chew up and spit out our new teachers in Oakland. I am not sure anyone even cares anymore; it seems like there is an unending supply of new ones to take their place. It is getting to the point that it is hard to even be hopeful. And while so many of these new energetic teachers have real potential, that potential is never fully realized in Oakland.

  • Steven Weinberg

    The idea that new teachers do a better job of teaching than experienced teachers is not borne out by the facts. I attended a seminar in 2008 on “value added performance” plans, sponsored by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Value added plans try to use changes in student test scores to identify stronger and weaker teachers. This seminar included experts in the field who had analyzed the data in many districts. Some favored value added approaches and some opposed them, but they all agreed that the group that showed the lowest level of improvement for their students were new teachers. Experience in the classroom matters, and it matters most in the first 3 years. This is not a criticism of new teachers, just a statement of reality.
    I do agree that many new teachers do try to follow the California Standards very closely, in part because they have no other experience to go by. The fact that they are, as a group, the least successful in improving student test scores underscores why many of us who have taught for a number of years are less than thrilled by all the emphasis on following the standards.
    It is also a misconception to say that NCLB has improved the preparation of teachers. Yes, all teachers are supposed to be “highly qualified” under NCLB, but the state has defined “highly qualified” to included anyone in an internship position, that is anyone with a BA, hired by a district, who enrolls in a teacher preparation program. Without a huge increase in educational spending in California to fund higher salaries, it would be impossible to attract enough teachers who were truly highly qualified. California set a low standard so they would have enough teachers for all their classrooms.
    Like Oakland Teacher (#8) I hesitated to add this comment to this post. None of what I have written is aimed at Andy. He has dedicated three years of his life to helping our students, and he has taken extra time to share his experiences with us, and for that he deserves our thanks and best wishes.

  • J.R.

    The system is broken, and it is geared toward giving seniority all possible benefits of working conditions(first choice of school transfer etc.) this is where the biggest problem is. Placement should be on need and ability not seniority. If the best teachers need monetary inducement to teach at low end schools then so be it. The extra money would be there if salaries were based on performance(objective measures may include reviewing lesson-plan books to see quality and quantity of assignments and adherence to state teaching standards). The system needs to change, that includes the school districts and the unions. If you wont change it then the taxpayers and parents WILL change it for you.

  • Steven Weinberg

    Transfers based on seniority are not a big problem in Oakland. Although the teacher contract provides for voluntary transfers based on seniority, and they once were common, there have been almost none in the last several years. Under Results Based Budgeting many principals try to avoid selecting teachers with many years of experience to save funds for other uses.

    The idea that basing teacher salaries on performance took another hit this week when a report was issued by Mathematica Policy Research showing that Chicago’s program for performance-based compensation did not boost student test scores and did not improve teacher retention. This program was established by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan when he was in Chicago.

    The idea that money would be there if teachers were paid based on performance is also false. Paying teachers according to performance, even with fairly modest rewards, has cost more everywhere it has been tried, and some districts abandoned it because they couldn’t afford it. In some of these programs practically every teacher qualified for the extra pay.

  • J.R.

    The only reason some districts can’t afford it is the collective bargaining agreements have tied the hands(procedurally and monetarily) of the districts, which have been hamstrung to rid itself of the overpaid do-nothing deadwood in the district. The union has created a money-making machine for itself(a la the mafia) and it won’t give up that revenue stream, taxpayers be damned. Another big enemy of the taxpayers are any public servants who feel they are entitled for a lifetime irregardless of ability, being employed(forcibly I might add)a long time and having a pulse are the only prerequisites to financial security.Where we differ is I think only the best deserve that kind of financial security and you don’t.

  • Steven Weinberg

    Approximately what percent of teachers do you think deserve financial security, JR?

  • J.R.

    I don’t have exact numbers, and the system has been rigged to make objective measures unlawful up to this point. In all the districts that I have been associated with as a PTA parent I would have to 10-15% +/-. Some districts are worse OUSD and LAUSD, and some are better Piedmont,Pleasanton and Orinda.

  • J.R.

    oops flip that around 85-90% deserve security and the rest deserve the boot.

  • Steven Weinberg

    JR, your figures are not out of line with my observations. There are some teachers who should find another career, and as long as due process is followed, I have no qualms about removing them.

    It is easy to blame the union and collective bargaining for the presence of those teachers, but I think the percentage of ineffective teachers is about the same in private schools I have had experience with, and in the schools I attended as a child, long before there was any collective bargaining. The private schools have no trouble letting teachers go at the end of the year, but many of their new hires do not work out. To improve a school you have to replace teachers you let go with someone better, and unless you are paying high salaries, it is difficult to attract better prospects.

    JR, given that you only want to replace 10 to 15% of the teachers, even if all of them were at the top of the salary schedule and were replaced by brand new teachers (neither of which I think would be the case), I don’t see how you can claim that would generate enough extra money to give the remaining 85 to 90% financial security. The bonuses you would be providing would be between $3,000 and $4,000, probably not large enough to improve the district’s ability to attract top candidates for the open teaching positions. And as the newly hired teachers moved up the salary schedule it would be impossible to continue the bonuses at that level. In the Chicago study I cited earlier, a $2,600 bonus was inadequate to lead to any improvements for students.

    We are not so far apart about what we see. I say the glass is 85 to 90% full, and you say it is 10 to 15% empty. But despite the fact that you think 85 to 90% of the teachers are good, you say the system is broken and not deserving of your financial support. I think that something that is 85 to 90% good should be protected and strengthened and deserves all our support. Of course we should look for ways to improve the system, but we must make sure that the changes we seek will truly be effective.

  • J.R.

    Steven,
    unfortunately, this kind of evidence is very limited as I can only speak about the 4-5 districts which I know about, as I said some districts are far worse than that average maybe as high as 30-40%. There are too many bad teachers out there right now and the procedures for getting rid of them are too time consuming to properly document for the principal, and expensive for the district(result: teachers stay because it’s too much hassle to get rid of them). It’s a win for the union, and a loss for the children. Surely you can see the harm in this system.

  • Steven Weinberg

    JR I can see the system does not work perfectly, but I have studied test score results for many teachers and classes, and using those results to judge teachers will only make things worse. I have also seen too many good teachers who were given poor evaluations only because they were considered a threat by administrators to trust a system without some checks on arbitary dismissals. I am not saying that the system cannot be improved, but it cannot rely on the scores of tests that were not designed to do a fair job of measuring year to year growth and it must include protections for the employees.

  • Cranky Teacher

    “Andy has got heart, and it’s a sad fact that all over the state young competent teachers are being “RIF’ed” just because well”

    You are implying Andy was RIF’d. I see no evidence in his post of that. Most young teachers I see leave voluntarily, although if they are shifted to another school or temporarily laid off, that can hasten the process. Mostly they leave because a combination of stress and frustration with the fact they have many opportunities elsewhere as college-educated children of the middle- and upper-classes.

    In fact, OUSD rarely has laid off the TFA and OTF kids because turnover and retirements are high enough even with declining enrollment. This year is a borderline exception, and next year could be much worse if no new stimulus funds are authorized.

    J.R., I appreciate your anger as a parent. I have been there myself (if you only knew the half!). And at work it is heartbreaking to see a good teacher leave while apparent psychos hang around year after year.

    Yet you want to only see one-half of the equation and block out any facts which do not fit your ideological stance.

    Seniority/job security is the BONE the districts, especially overwhelmed ones like Oakland, threw the unions over the decades rather than pay them appropriate to their education and workload and responsibility, and/or to support them as educators with proper support, training, oversight and equipment.

    Simply put, it is much cheaper in certain “industries” to give a workforce job security rather than increase wages, benefits and working conditions.

    Now, having had its modest budgets slashed further, districts want to keep the salary scale low, cut support even further AND get rid of older, higher-paid teachers by shifting money to charter schools and/or breaking unions.

    You are (properly) enraged by the symptom, but I believe you are short-sighted in your diagnosis of the disease.

  • J.R.

    Cranky,
    No matter how you try and slice it, the facts are that teachers get pretty good pay and working conditions as compared to the private sector when you factor in “even” 50K avg pay(unless you count the way underpaid new teachers) @ 2+ months of vacation plus practically every observed holiday. Some teachers who work in the high crime areas have it very hard, but blame that on the system of seniority and bumping because that is where the problem lies, and you wont admit to it. Admit it to yourself the teachers with seniority(for the most part) will take the easiest grade levels(6th is the least preferable, friends of mine were advised to take 6th because no one wants it unless desperate) in the easiest schools in the easiest districts first. How is this fair to the children? If it weren’t for those children, you would be in the private sector with a boss incessantly hanging over you, who could fire you without too much trouble. Thats how us normal people out here(in the regular world) are forced to give our best, how about you?

  • Ms. J.

    It’s amazing how some people will find a way to tie their one issue, which they flog and flog and flog endlessly, to any post that Katy writes. I am also impressed, though not in a positive way, by the amount of time that these people spend on such negativity.
    Why is it necessary to turn the upbeat good-bye story into yet another attack on seniority? Just like Cranky, I looked in vain for evidence that Andy was leaving because some battle axe older teacher had seniority over him. Like Cranky, I read the same thing: Andy is choosing to leave, as do many young teachers, for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons reflect badly on the district, and some are more personal.
    I don’t know, J.R.–I might be willing to process your opinions with an open mind, were it not for the fact that every single thing you write comes down to your tirade against veteran teachers.
    And for those keeping track, I am on lunch break now, not neglecting my class.

  • J.R.

    Ms,
    You will find out it is much more than just me, but go ahead and be oblivious, because the education system is all going to change anyway, with you or without you.

  • Cranky Teacher

    “No matter how you try and slice it, the facts are that teachers get pretty good pay and working conditions as compared to the private sector when you factor in “even” 50K avg pay(unless you count the way underpaid new teachers) @ 2+ months of vacation plus practically every observed holiday.”

    If this is true, why do 50% of teachers in America quit before they teach five years? Are all those who quit just idiots who didn’t realize they were living the cush life?

    Oh, and a lot of teachers consider sixth grade the BEST year to teach. I know I loved it.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Oh, and J.R., I worked in the private sector, as a freelancer and “at will” employee, in extremely competitive industries, for 20 years. I’ve seen both sides from the inside. Have you?

  • J.R.

    Cranky,
    Absolutely, and for much, much longer than you.

  • J.R.

    Cranky,
    Some people are smart enough to figure out what isn’t right for them. Some people have limited choices, and still others choose teaching as a second career, and find it very much preferable to their prior career.

  • J.R.

    Cranky,
    You’re a teacher, so you should know that the 50% figure is an average(much like the salary issue). How much do you want to wager that inner city schools are in the 75%+ turnover range(due in part because seniority priority placement almost guarantees that young teachers will staff the least desirable schools, while the senior teachers get the suburbs. All these little unspoken truths are finally being brought to the attention of the parents, taxpayers and legislators and SB 955 was just the first salvo. Whether your union likes it or not, what is best for kids takes priority over the rights of teachers. Thank you Katie for running a pertinent article on priority placement(all parents and taxpayers need to investigate for themselves and draw their own conclusions).

  • http://accomplishedcaliforniateachers.wordpress.com David B. Cohen

    If unions are the problem, why are non-unionized “right to work” states being consistently outperformed by states that have strong state-level union organization?

  • Cranky Teacher

    “How much do you want to wager that inner city schools are in the 75%+ turnover range(due in part because seniority priority placement almost guarantees that young teachers will staff the least desirable schools, while the senior teachers get the suburbs.”

    I realize I am missing something here. Can you explain in more detail how the union is responsible for creating turnover at low-income schools?

    I understand the “protecting bad teachers” accusation which is of course true to a large extent because unions try to protect all members based on the contract. But this is a new one, blaming unions for driving teachers out of struggling school.

    Please explain it.

  • Nextset

    I am with Cranky on this issue. I especially like his post #19.

    I haven’t figured out yet how to fit this into my “one issue”.

    Try this: In the Brave New World, you will live within the occupational, social and economic class you were born into, subject to downward mobility for mental illness and failure to behave to the level you were born into. The public schools will no longer serve to educate the masses to a common standard, education will be completely different depending on the class you were raised as. Alphas will be born Alphas, live as Alphas and generally remain so. Betas will be born Betas, go to Beta Schools, work in Beta occupations and probably get creamated in Beta funeral service companies. The various groups and sub groups will not even speak directly to each other and only associate with like.

    They will even have separate washrooms and shop in different stores. Like Wal*Mart & Costco for example. Using different Banks and Credit Cards, driving different model cars, and living in different worlds.

    And when you read this thread – think of this. Betas will be taught by “teachers” who only “teach” Betas. Alphas will have their own teachers who will not teach any Betas. If a young teacher of Alphas somehow winds up in a Beta school system – he will not fit in and he will leave/get rejected.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    And this all started with the trashing of the public schools in the 1960s.

    All the things we are writing about here on this blog are also going on in the other education blogs – such as Atlanta’s. The deterioration here mirrors what is going on in the other urban areas of the country. The decline is directly tied to federal education policy, policy which is in excess of federal enumerated powers. We would do well to delete federal authority and influence in education and let all the states go their own ways. At least the whole country’s education system wouldn’t go down at the same time.

    Brave New World!

  • J.R.

    One more time cranky(real slow this time)The unions are responsible for veteran teachers have bumping preference, correct? Where do we find the majority of tenured senior teachers, that’s right, mostly in the suburbs or wealthy enclaves(taking the easiest positions at the easiest schools in the easiest districts), and not very many in the inner cities proportionally. Are you telling me that the districts(who are supposed to be representing the taxpayers would actually want a goofy asinine bumping system in place? Only the Mafia or a union could love it.They could never survive as hardworking individuals who rely on their own quality work to flourish in this world, instead they rely on the pack mentality to make sure everyone who is “part of the group” gets their cut even if they haven’t earned it.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Honestly, J.R., I thought there was more to it, since this line of argument doesn’t hold up at all. That’s why I was giving you the benefit of the doubt and asking you to explain in full.

    Simply put, you are obsessed with “bumping preference.” (I think you said you had a friend bumped who then couldn’t find a job? Or was that somebody else? If so, get over it: The jobs are out there, your friend’s a flake.) Yet, this is a small issue in the scheme of things, in terms of the endemic problems of competently staffing OUSD.

    Also, you seem to be implying that this bumping process means a union is helping a teacher move from OUSD to, say, a “wealthy enclave” like Piedmont. But these are different districts! In fact, if you didn’t have seniority, the flight of the best teachers, young and old, from OUSD to the suburbs would be HASTENED — currently, many districts only allow the transfer of five years of seniority, so once folks are here long enough they are actually disincentivized to move.

    Furthermore, your logic is faulty in another way: You say young teachers are better — yet are upset that older teachers are “bumped” to the wealthier schools. Huh? In fact, if teachers were as powerful and self-interested as you are implying, the wealthier neighborhood schools would be staffed by the elderly survivors you are claiming are by definition crappy, while all the idealistic young teachers would be remaking the flatland schools into wonderlands.

    Unfortunately for your black-and-white analysis, the reality is wayyy more complicated. There ARE many older, experienced teachers who rock and there ARE many youngsters who, while certainly more vibrant and attractive than us curmudgeons, don’t yet have the experience and classroom “authoriteh” to make things really work.

    Seniority systems are not ideal. Neither is “at will” employment in a system which can not accurately evaluate its employees and has horrendous turnover at the administrative levels. Can you give me a creative compromise?

  • Cranky Teacher

    “The decline is directly tied to federal education policy, policy which is in excess of federal enumerated powers. We would do well to delete federal authority and influence in education and let all the states go their own ways. At least the whole country’s education system wouldn’t go down at the same time.”

    Nextset, education is the area the state’s have had the MOST independence (because the fund it) and the most variation.

    Let me tell you, when our New York and New Jersey relatives come out, they are shocked at California’s treatment of public education. Back there, the middle class all use the public school system, and they the per student funding is wayyyyy higher than ours. We are with the Georgia’s of the world (since you mentioned Atlanta) and have been since Prop. 13.

    In fact, it is only when our dopey leaders fall over themselves to “Race to the Top” or “Leave No Child Behind” just to get some table scraps from the Federal Budget (and please their corporate donors) that they even come under the purview of federal mandates on education.

    Ohhhhh, I get it — you’re talking about desegregation. You’re mad about Brown v. Board of Education? That at least makes sense.

  • Nextset

    Cranky: Where do you get the notion that Education is where the states have the most independence?

    Federal Education Policy is everywhere in Public School District Policy. Right down to the reporting requirements. No Child Left Behind, you know.

    Do you claim we spend insufficient $$ per kid? How do we compare to, say, Montana?

  • Cranky Teacher

    The states control public education. However, their main motivation for following federal dictates on education is cash. In California, Prop. 13 and a general anti-tax environment means that the crumbs from the Feds are desperately sought. Thus, states opted to follow NCLB rather than lose federal funding. In 2007, this federal funding was $57 billion.

    As for spending by state, for decades after Prop. 13 we have been grouped in the bottom tier with poor Southern and Western states (after decades of being in the top 10). We have ranged from the mid-20s to the high-40s in the actually ranking. The NE states at the top — New York, New Jersey, Conn., Mass. — spend 40%-60% more per student the California. This is a significant difference, even though money is clearly not the only key to educational success.

    In a 2004 Census report, we DID spend more than Montana — $400 more. (Factor in the cost of living here compared to Montana, and you can see that we are spending LESS in real dollars.) New York, meanwhile, spent a whopping $4,000 more than us, and District of Columbia spent almost $6,000 more per student.

    In 2007-08, we were ranked 41st in state K-12 spending, $1,400 less than the national average — even though our teacher salaries are $13,000 higher than the national average (accounting for high cost of living). The result is large class sizes and limited resources generally.

    Compare this to our ranking in terms of per capita income — ninth highest in the nation.

    Arizona, which is complaining so bitterly about having to educate immigrant children spends the LEAST per student.

    Note that the OAKLAND teacher salary average is right at the national average, $13,000 below the California average.

    http://www.edsource.org/iss_fin_FAQ_cacompares.html

  • J.R.

    What those numbers don’t tell you(and this is important)is that:
    1.OUSD’s salary avg is weighted downward because it has proportionally more young teachers(who make much less).

    2.Salary averaging is hurting the low performing schools.

    3.Veteran teachers remain well paid, it’s the young teachers being thrown under the bus in multiple ways that is hurting our kids.

    These articles cover a lot of ground on these issues, that we could learn from.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002138717_turnover03m.html

    http://www.seattlepi.com/opinion/124013_seattleschools29.html

  • Robbin Rae

    Cousin Andy-
    It has been a pleasure working with you! I remember you coming day one, so young, so full of promise-a young lad with big hopes and dreams to change education…
    You have done well, we have grown together. We had some crazy filled times and some sad times, but we made it through. A wise man (or woman) once said “All good things must come to an end”…(now that I think about that quote, it HAD to have been a woman), although it seemed at most times that our “good” times at EXCEL/McClymond’s would NEVER end, they have.
    Thank you for helping a sister out, being a great co-worker and better friend, spotting me for lunch and/or happy hour (do I owe you any money still??). We have more adventures ahead of us as we continue on with our own education. Good Luck, I love you, and Godspeed!
    See you in LA and Singapore.

  • Paul

    Andy, your time and efforts are appreciated. Thank you.
    Best of luck with graduate school. Stay positive with regards to “systemic change.”