MASTER TEACHER: DEBBY CUERDEN (1976-2009)
About two weeks ago, I wrote some thoughts on and excerpted from Mrs. Fetter’s book some of the tributes on Master Teachers who came in 1977. I did not forget 1976, for that was my first year at Graland. In fact, I recall so clearly the opening meetings at the the school: magic circles in the mountains, dancing one’s name using tambourines for special effect, and an afternoon of creating human sculptures. That was two days’ worth of meetings. Then, the gods smiled on us -- we met about nuts and bolts. I love nuts and bolts.
Among the gang of newbies that year was a young woman from Indiana named Debby Campbell (later, Cuerden). Debbie’s good friend, Carol Mc Kenna Weber, a former Lower School teacher, wrote these kind words:
“In the 1980’s, Debby assumed the responsibility of English chair while continuing to teach fifth and sixth grades. She also designed programs and curriculum and implemented service learning projects. Somehow, during these years of teaching, she also managed to earn two master’s degrees in education!
“ A lover of reading and writing, Debby brings her own great enthusiasm to the classroom. She revels in in spirited discussions as well as in moments she spends working with students. Debby always maintains high standards helping her children to master a difficult task, providing gentle nudges, and offering encouragement. . . A remarkable mentor to her students in many ways, she is a master of combining the rigors of grammar, spelling, and vocabulary with the more obviously creative pursuits of reading and writing.”
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.