After Alicia Ritchie graduated from college with a journalism degree,
she volunteered in a friend’s elementary school classroom.
That experience was enough to convince the 1993 John Burroughs
High School graduate that journalism and public relations were not
“I loved teaching,” Ritchie said. “I just knew that it was for
Ritchie, 28, returned to college, earned her teaching credential
and is in her first year as a second-grade teacher at Bret Harte
“Everyone here is so wonderful,” she said. “I could not ask for a
better school site.”
Ritchie is teaching Bonnie Shatun’s second-grade class while
Shatun spends most of her workday traveling around the state as an
elected board member of the California Teachers Assn.
Shatun continues to teach, spending one-third to one-half of her
time in the classroom with her, Ritchie said.
On her first day as a teacher last month, Ritchie said that she
was extremely nervous.
“I wasn’t feeling well,” she said. “I had the stomach flu, but I
got through the entire day.”
Despite nerves and illness, Ritchie said she was thrilled to be in
the classroom to meet the students and their parents.
Ritchie is like a breath of fresh air, Bret Harte Principal Diane
“This is a very senior staff here, not to say creaky and old,”
Berger said. “But we hardly ever have new teachers.”
Not only is Ritchie well trained for the position, but she also is
fully credentialed to work with nonnative English speakers, Berger
Most teachers who are elected to the CTA choose to leave the
classroom, but Shatun isn’t one of them, Berger said, adding that
having Ritchie in the classroom is great for Shatun because she
doesn’t have to explain things to a substitute.