Tom Strasser, Waterbury Center, is retiring from Harwood Union High School after 27 years. He teaches math to ninth through 12th graders and coaches Harwood’s Nordic skiing team and was involved in cross-country running and track for many years.
His career began in North Carolina, where he met his wife, who was from Waterbury, and relocated to Vermont. He’s been at Harwood ever since.
“I enjoy getting to experience life through the kids’ eyes,” he said. “Their energy keeps me excited about coming back.”
He said some of his most memorable moments from his teaching/coaching career included learning about skiing from Olympic skier and Harwood alum Caitlin Compton Gregg and watching Junior National Champion skier Ava Thurston grow throughout the years. While Strasser is stepping down from his teaching role, he will still coach Nordic at Harwood next season. “I’d like to spend more time helping a club Nordic program in northern Vermont,” he said.
Strasser said there were many changes over the years that he’s been teaching, perhaps the most notable being COVID and switching to remote learning, which he called a shock at first. “In-person learning is more equitable and a better format,” he said. Technology has also changed. His students went from using basic calculators to much more advanced devices and online tools. He added that COVID and social media amplified a shift in teaching pedagogy to focus more on social-emotional learning, rather than just academics.
“I’ll miss the kids for sure,” he said. He also said he will particularly miss working with the younger teachers, who have great ideas and new ways of looking at education. “I’m just happy to work with a bunch of really great fellow teachers and the administration has been really supportive,” he said.