Letter: Exceptional Teacher and Colleague

To the Editor:

I want to express my regret that the only teacher pictured in the Dec. 17 article “A Call for Better Teaching in Lebanon” is a colleague of exceptional strength both in and out of the classroom. While I recognize it may not have been your intention, there is clearly the potential for readers to link a headline calling for “better teaching” with the teacher pictured above and wonder if he is weak in the classroom.

Those not familiar with Lebanon High may not realize that Luke Michener is an exceptional teacher and colleague. He was hired in August 2012, a mere two weeks before school began, to replace a teacher who took a sudden medical leave. Experienced as an Advance Placement teacher, he was able smoothly and effectively to take over sections of AP U.S. history and AP government, as well as other courses, and win the respect of his students, despite replacing an extraordinarily popular teacher.

Weeks into the start of the school year, he petitioned the School Board for permission to take a group of his students to Washington, D.C., during their (and his) April vacation, a trip never offered in my 21 years of teaching at Lebanon.

He has been a vital part of our professional community, working effectively with members of all departments and easily befriending colleagues. Since his arrival in the Upper Valley , he has also been a regular weekly volunteer at the Haven. With the help of his advisory students, he recently concluded a food drive at the school that brought in over 1,500 food items for the Haven.

He effectively teaches a wide range of students, and he is always calm, professional and engaging. It was in large part due to his advocacy that the social studies department became familiar with a curriculum developed at Brown University that will be added next year. There may be teachers here — or at any school, for that matter — who would benefit from support and guidance in strengthening their work. Luke Michener is not one of them. We are unbelievably lucky to have had him with us.

Deborah H. Bacon Nelson

English/social studies teacher

Lebanon High School

Related

A Call for Better Teaching at Lebanon High School

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It isn’t unusual for parents to express concerns about a teacher or a particular class at Lebanon High School, administrators there said. But it is uncommon for a group of parents to press for improvements to teaching. Such a group has emerged, a small group of parents who are decrying what they see as substandard teaching at the high school …