Teacher's retirement is bittersweet news

It was bittersweet when I read your front-page article last week about Todd Kissel’s upcoming retirement from LCHS 7/8 school.

I’m glad that he is still young enough to enjoy the much-deserved wonderful years ahead with his family and friends. But, selfishly, I’m sad that our two grandsons at La Cañada Elementary and countless other students will not have the same opportunity our son and daughter had to experience him as a seventh-grade math teacher.

He not only instilled a love of the subject in most kids, but also had their respect — something probably very difficult during those trying junior high years. Passionate about his profession, Kissel was an excellent teacher — kind, supportive and encouraging — but most of all, he made learning fun. My children have always said he was one of their most favorite and beloved teachers. Who can forget his wild, weird and humorous ties that he wore to class every single day?

But as a parent, my most memorable moments were in 1995, the year he decided to assist varsity softball coach Tom Parker with our daughter’s Spartan team. Kissel was just as outstanding on the field as he was in the classroom. And always upbeat. He made a promise to the girls that if they won CIF, he would let them shave off his mustache. No one at school, and not even his wife or daughters, had seen him without one. That challenge certainly inspired the team. As fate would have it, they did attain the championship title and before any trophies were given, out came the scissors and razor blade and each girl had a chance to take a snip. He has never grown it back.

Thank you, Mr. Kissel, for caring about all our children and making a tough subject easier to learn for their own enjoyment of your class. My husband and I are especially grateful for your making an impact on our son’s and daughter’s educational lives. You are the best!

Martha Burns
La Cañada Flintridge

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