Going from teaching to preaching

Gary Moskowitz

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.”