Please join me in celebrating Nathalie Gehrke, who plans to retire at the end of this year! This page is an opportunity to write your thoughts, memories, and well wishes. We invite all faculty, staff, students, alums, and friends to share.
Patricia A. Wasley,
Dean and Professor
University of Washington College of Education
Goodness we have experienced a lot during our 21 years as colleagues. Your support and willingness to serve were so beneficial to me as a rookie dean. Your taking on tasks for the good of the area and/or College has been a hallmark of your tenure.
But, it is the contributions you made as a teacher and adviser that have truly made a mark. Graduates like Janet McDonald have gone on to become educational leaders, and while you would deny it, such persons would acknowledge that you were and continue to be instrumental in their lives.
You can look back over all these years in the College with pride and know that it was a job well done.
Now, enjoy just "fiddling" around.
It's all a matter of aesthetics.
And thoughts of Nathalie and aesthetics instantly conjure up images of chairs. Matching chairs, of course.
Nathalie ran a one-woman campaign to combat disorder in Miller Hall classrooms. She fought the good fight to remove broken chairs, sort colors, and return primordial order to our rooms. She fought the fight up and down the halls of power until one afternoon during a quarter break, Wally, Jerry and Erin moved all of the blue chairs into 112, and made sure that the orange chairs were corralled in 104. After an eternity of pushing stacks of chairs around, and a big trip to surplus with the misfit or broken chairs, the rooms were finally perfectly matched.
But this is a humorous story and the punch line follows: the next day a distraught professor appeared in a panic. We had moved too many chairs out and he didn't have enough chairs for his class! And so enrollment triumphed over aesthetics and chaos returned.
Best of luck to you, Nathalie. We'll miss your sharp eye for aesthetics, delicious homemade granola over the holidays (and other delightful gifts), and friendly smile. Enjoy your retirement! You've earned it!
Erin Hanlon and Jerry Purcell
We arrived on campus at nearly the same moment, you as budding professor and I as eager graduate student. You and Betty Kersh helped me see the virtue in completing the dissertation and getting on with a career. You even found a way to entice a longer stay on campus, which I declined in order to spend a (long) year on the tundra which yielded data for my research.
I appreciated the way you humanized the bowels of Miller and found humor in our earlier careers as high school cheerleaders, many years removed.
The UW years helped form habits of mind and a new mix of skills that have served me well. I cheerfully retired a year ago from the public schools and find myself as engaged as ever in research and program evaluation in different arenas. Thanks from those of us in your first cohort and best wishes in the years ahead.
Peter Hendrickson, Ph.D. 1985
It has been a pleasure to work with you over the years and across campuses. I admire your passion for education and tenacity to get the job done. My best wishes for you in your next life adventure, whatever that may be.
Ginger MacDonald, Education Program, UWT
Wow! Time flies! It was only a few days ago (over 26 years) that I gave you a good teaching award. Time has been good to you! I am certain you have touched many more lives besides mine. Thanks for all you do!
Congratulations on your upcoming retirement! I treasure the many times I've benefited from your wit and wisdom...in your classes when I was a doctoral student,and as friends and colleagues in the John Goodlad NNER and IEI.
Your keen wit and terrific sense of humor buoyed my spirits as I struggled to earn my doctorate during the 1980s. You helped me to emerge mostly sane and with less wear and tear than I would have experienced had you not been there to help me keep my perspective.
I hope you'll have time to travel, read good books, and play your fiddle during the coming years. And I certainly hope our paths will cross again.
All the best,
Wilma F Smith
Thank you, Nathalie, for all your years of thoughtful and caring work on our behalf and on behalf of our students! I will always remember you for your core of commitment to the radical value of education and your interest in deepening students' ability to think cogently about our field. I have always felt able to count on your collaborative nature. Your attention to teachers' development throughout their professional careers emerged years before it became recognized as an important issue.
It has always been a pleasure to serve with you, and to work beside you. Very best wishes to you as you chart your own further life-course!
With warm appreciation and abiding admiration,
The most significant memory I have of you is about the wonderful way you have mentored students throughout all your years. Even as you approached the end of your career, with integrity and caring, you took this work to heart. I learned a lot about mentoring by watching you. I wish you all the best for your retirement and do keep visiting us!
A big hug,
I can't thank you enough for your help, guidance and support. You took me on as a student and brought me through some pretty rough patches. You are wonderful.
When thinking about embarking upon a doctorate at UW, Nathalie, you were one of the first professors I encountered. I felt instantly welcomed into your office, soaked up the atmosphere in the book-lined room, and within minutes knew this was where I wanted to be. I learned so much about teachers, their lives and stories, and about myself from working with you. For me you have always been a model of how I interact with my own students, how I mentor them, and the balance between being a good teacher and teaching teachers. Thank you for being part of my work at UW.
As a student in the teacher ed. program (1997 cohort), Nathalie took the time to get to know me as a person and as an educator. We had several long conversations about teaching and learning that really helped to shape my philosophy of education. I really appreciate her thoughtfulness and kindness - thanks, Nathalie!
Hans de Grys
I am so grateful for the support and supervision you provided when I ran the College of Education Writing Lab early in my doctoral career. I so enjoyed working across the hall from you, and deeply appreciated your open door. I fondly remember seeking advice about strategies to work with students and faculty, my transition back to school, and suggestions about books to read. It was such a pleasure to work with you and I look forward to staying in touch.
Nathalie, You co-taught the first course I took as a doc student here in 1979. You had just arrived from Arizona. From then till now, your commitment to teaching, curriculum, and students has served as a model for me. Now, your new adventures and your new "students," whomever and wherever they may be, are in for some serious treatment. I hope they're ready. They are lucky. All the best,
Oh, Nathalie, how will we manage without your poetry to brighten our events! You always bring that lyrical moment to our celebrations and a bright spot to my days as I pass by your open office door. Always kind and thoughtful, clear and strong, your colleagues and students will miss you.
I will always remember how you started every one of our class sessions with a poem. The thoughtful selections helped to calm while press our thinking. Your compasssion, energy, and spirit will be missed yet remembered.
Thank you for sharing so much with me, which I am sharing with other teachers, students, and parents.
Best wishes to a new adventure!
Her final official days at UW are nearly over, but not her impact. What a teacher! What a lady. Her students will continue for years to come to carry her messages, her ideas, her caring and commitment to teaching. Her greatest strength, or one of many, is her ability to help students clarify their thinking. She could always ask: "Have you considered. . ." I know; she said it to me many times. I am proud to know her and call her my dear friend.
Nancy Sue Romerdahl
Thank you so much for the guidance you provided me during my course of study in 2000. You were an inspiration to me, as I am sure you continue to be so to other students. May you enjoy the new phase of your life.
El Paso, TX
College of Education, University of Washington
Box 353600 Seattle, WA 98195-3600