One of La Reina’s longtime guiding lights has been math teacher Mr. Stan Hirsch, who was recognized by the Sisters of Notre Dame National Sponsorship and Network Office (NSNO) with the Father Bernard Overberg “Teacher of Teachers” Award. Mr. Hirsch has been a guiding light for students and faculty at La Reina for 47 years. This award recognizes educators in the spirit of Father Overberg, whose work profoundly impacted the educational vision and practices of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Father Overberg believed that a true education helps children develop their God-given gifts, especially the capacity to understand their world, to live responsibility in it, and, most importantly, to open their hearts to God’s love. He urged teachers to ignite the spark of learning in their students through engaging, conversational lessons that inspired them to think for themselves, to share ideas in their own words, to ask questions, to make observations, and to solve real-world problems.
A few years ago Stan shared this memory of being hired by Sr. Josanne.
It was October, and he was working days as a substitute math teacher at Thousand Oaks High School. At night, he worked at a liquor store. One night, his boss yelled, “Hey, there’s a nun on the phone who wants to talk to you.”
Hirsch said he didn’t know any nuns but picked up the phone to hear Sister Josanne Furey, the principal at the time, address him like an old friend. After he asked her to please tell him who she was, she invited him to come interview for a job teaching math.
He went to her office the next day, signed a contract, and picked up his keys and books. And then he showed up for class — which, of course, was filled with girls.
“Ummm … where are the boys?” he asked.
“I didn’t even know it was an all-girls school,” he said. “She failed to tell me that.”
To read more about the educational priorities of the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States, visit the SND NSNO , National Sponsorship and Network Office, website. For a listing of ministries in California, click here.