Former Sherwood Students Return, This Time as Teachers

by Ziv Golan ‘26

Sherwood has been around for over 100 years and although things have changed over the years, students who have returned as teachers have added to a state of continuity. Currently, nine teachers at Sherwood also attended the school: Dr. Gina Martin, Mr. Matthew Schneider, Mr. Thomas Nakamura, Mr. Ryan Burnsky, Mrs. Caitlin Thompson, Mr. Sean Hillman, Mrs. Nicole Schneider, Mr. Sean Davis, and Ms. Sydney Parra. Although Sherwood is forever changing, over the years the feel and community have always stuck with these Sherwood alums.

“School spirit and the sense of community in the Sherwood area still feels the same. Most of the school building is exactly as it was when I was here. I can still picture myself as a student walking the halls or taking classes in certain rooms,” said Matt Schneider, who graduated in 2007 and is a social studies teacher.

Schneider has the unique story of marrying his high school classmate, who also teaches at Sherwood as the Child Development teacher. “It’s fun and convenient. It was especially helpful to be working at the same school during online learning when I was new to Sherwood as a teacher, said Nicole Schneider (‘07).

“We actually don’t see each other during the day as much as people think, but we do sometimes eat lunch together.” There are also many interesting stories passed down over the years that homegrown teachers hold onto.

“The F hall was still here … And you want to know something? It’s haunted; it was definitely haunted by a young girl and was known at the time about being a haunted hallway,” said Hillman (‘90), who teaches English to English Language Learners (ELL).
When thinking about the prospect of working at the school you attended, it is safe to assume that the first thought to pop into people’s heads would be the awkwardness of working with former teachers. “It’s not intimidating but it’s definitely weird,” said physical education teacher Parra, who graduated in 2012. “It was weird at first to see teachers here and now I’m also a teacher here so I’m in some way equal to them. A lot of them, in the beginning, made comments about how old they feel now that I’m a teacher here.”

Homegrown teachers have also said that the community aspect of the school helps Sherwood tremendously. “I definitely think there’s an advantage to the community and having teachers that are attached, [whether] it’s because they went here or their kids go here or they live here or just feeling connected to the building. I think that’s good for morale and for passion and makes it a more connected place to go to school,” said Thompson (‘98), who is one of a number of alumni in the social studies department.

Whilst the school community of Sherwood is incredibly similar to how it was back in the day, the community surrounding the school has grown quite a bit. “When I graduated from Sherwood, Hallowell [neighborhood] hadn’t been built … well, actually they were building it, and when you go down 108 on that whole right side there were no houses,” said Martin (‘87), who is the head of the Science department.

There have also been changes to the Sherwood environment itself, one being that the school was stricter with its rules and policies. “Students were not allowed to be on cell phones during class, and some teachers even did not allow you to wear hats in the classroom,” said Nakamura, who graduated in 2012 and is now a social studies teacher.

Burnsky, another teacher in social studies, believes that Sherwood has lost some of its school spirit over the years and that trend had already begun when he graduated in 2005. “My older brother graduated in 2001, and I feel like that group of students and students before them had way more school spirit,” said Burnsky. “Over the years school spirit and pride have declined.”