MAGNOLIA PARK -- It’s not going to be easy for Ken Tada to leave John
Burroughs High School.
Even after graduating in 1964, Tada never really left Burroughs. He
was an assistant coach for the school’s football teams while attending
Cal State Northridge and returned to Burroughs as a full-time teacher in
1970 to teach American and world history, African American Studies and
But in February, Tada will leave the halls of Burroughs and fully
devote his time to Christian mission work with Joni and Friends, a
Christian mission project founded by his wife, Joni Eareckson Tada. Tada
has been involved with Joni and Friends since he and his wife married in
1982. Joni Tada started the ministry after a diving accident in 1967 left
her a quadriplegic.
“I’m not really retiring, just sort of switching my focus,” said Tada,
55. “I love Burroughs, and it has been such a big part of my life, and a
true blessing and gift. I don’t know too many people who can say they
enjoyed every day at their job, but I really did.”
Tada added, “The students have really kept me going. I have loved
working with the kids.”
In addition to his work teaching social studies classes and more
recently, student government, Tada’s credits include coaching varsity
football and the school’s boys’ tennis teams.
“I think my main motivation is to give back to God what I think he has
given to me,” Tada said.
Brian Hurst, one of Tada’s former coleagues during his tenure, said he
will not only miss the deep-sea fishing trips the two frequently took to
San Diego, but the genuine attitude of caring Tada extended to his
“His relationship with students has always been outstanding because he
is always respectful of them,” said Hurst, a former athletic director and
assistant principal of athletics and student activities at Burroughs.
“There’s no question that he will be missed because he keeps a close tab
on a lot of his kids. He has gone to college graduations of his former
students because his students are like his kids.”