Guest Editorial, May 7-10, 2011 |

Guest Editorial, May 7-10, 2011

It was with a sense of dismay and sadness that I learned of the far-too-soon passing of one of Park City’s finest teachers. I had the pleasure of working with Chris Maddux for almost eight years in my role as principal and district office administrator.

In these days when it is fashionable to scapegoat teachers for the challenges and problems facing our public schools and our society, Chris stands out as one who embodies those qualities that we find in the overwhelming majority of teachers.

With dedication and vision he set about creating a high school program in the visual and film arts which has grown into a model for others; he brought creativity and enthusiasm to all he did in the classroom; he set high standards for his students and demanded much of them. Yet, he was his students’ greatest supporter and encourager, always there urging them to think outside the box and not fear risking failure because they tried for the little something extra in their projects. Chris’s workday didn’t end at 2:45. He was there as long as a student wanted or needed his help. He fought for his students and the program he believed in so much every year when the annual budget battle occupied staff’s time and effort for limited resources.

But what I remember most about Chris is his optimistic outlook on life and teaching. He clearly enjoyed — no, loved — what he was doing. And it rubbed off on the students in his classroom and his colleagues in the faculty lounge. I know many former students in whose lives Chris has made a difference. Students who are now in the film or media industry. Or, even if they are not, students who learned the feeling of pride that goes with a job well done, a challenge met because they were in his classes.

PCHS is one of Utah’s finest because of teachers like Chris Maddux and his colleagues. Teachers who have passion for what they do; who challenge their students to set high goals and to strive in the face of difficulty; who work without regard for the time on the clock; who believe there is no greater calling than helping to build America’s next generation.

Sure, there are some "bad apples," but in my 40 years as a teacher and administrator they were far outnumbered by the likes of Chris. The next time you hear someone bad-mouthing education and teachers, remind them that our future is well secure in the hands of those like Chris Maddux because he was what teaching is all about. On behalf of your colleagues and myself, thanks, Chris, for a job well done and for your friendship. Go in peace!

Michael Andrews was the principal of Park City High School from 1991 to 1996.

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