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The head of the class

Molly Shore

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

her calling.

“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

Elementary School.

“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

Berger said.

“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.