Education Opinion

In Memoriam

January 01, 2004 1 min read

In the August/September 2003 issue, under the headline “A Really Great Gig,” I wrote about Brendan Halpin, a 10-year veteran whose teaching memoir, Losing My Faculties, was just out in bookstores. It wasn’t his first. That one, It Takes a Worried Man, is about how he coped with the diagnosis and treatment of his wife, Kirsten Shanks, for stage IV breast cancer. While in Boston to report my story, I talked with Kirsten, who struck me as friendly, generous, and, despite her illness, healthy. But little more than three months later, in late October, Kirsten passed away. She was just 35. In the summer, Kirsten was working part-time, doing job-skills training for immigrants, but she devoted the bulk of her energy to Rowen, the couple’s 6-year-old daughter. Kirsten met Brendan when they were undergrads at the University of Pennsylvania, and she was there when he decided, a few years later, to become a teacher. She’s the one who suggested that Brendan write what he was feeling about her treatment, and the first memoir followed. The staff of Teacher Magazine sends its deepest condolences to the Halpin and Shanks families.

—Rich Shea, Executive Editor