By Sharon K. Williams — June 12, 2019 2 min read

It All Began With a Job In Beauty School

Kathy DeFloria, a new associate executive producer of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, has a special interest in school dropouts: 33 years ago, at age 15, she was one. DeFloria says that she dropped out of school for the same reason kids do today—lack of self-esteem and motivation. “It didn’t matter to anyone if I stayed in school,” she says. Her road to success began with a job at ta beauty school; she did the cleaning up in exchange for tuition. After becoming a beautician, DeFloria decided she wanted to teach high school cosmetology. So, after earning a high school equivalency degree, she went on to college and ultimately received a master’s degree in education. She has been a teacher and counselor, and in 1989, she became the principal of Metro Vocational Institute in Phoenix. In her new job, DeFloria manages six major educational programs and is the director of personnel.

Young At Heart

Ben Rosenberg, a teacher’s assistant for emotionally disturbed children in Woodland Hills, Calif., says his philosophy of life is to take it “one day at a time.” It’s a philosophy that has served him well. In October, the 90-year-old Rosenberg (at right) was honored as the oldest employee in the Los Angeles Unified School District. When Rosenberg retired from the business world at age 55, he had everything he wanted: a Ferrari, a villa in France, and a home in Malibu. But, he says, he grew “tired of retiring.” So, at age 72, Rosenberg volunteered as a teaching assistant at a school in Los Angeles. He quit a short time later, however, after a 3rd grade boy called him an “old drunk.” The experience was sobering. With the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, Rosenberg gave up drinking and, at age 75, returned to his job as a teaching assistant, this time as a paid employee. Kicking the booze has helped Rosenberg in his work with emotionally disturbed children. “You relearn in AA that if you can’t change a person, you should love and accept them the way they are,” he says.

If You Can’t Stand The Heat ...

Thomas Gilhool, the former Pennsylvania secretary of education who made a highly publicized leap into public school teaching last year, has left the classroom to resume his law practice. In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gilhool said that his $25,000 salary was too low and that he was frustrated with bureaucratic rules, drug abuse, and students’ problems.

Fighting Mad

As a middle school special education teacher, Sofia Pandazides has had to cope with many learning disabilities. But the one giving her the most trouble these days is her own. She suffers from “auditory-visual process delay,” making it, she says, impossible for her to complete fast-paced, timed exams. Last year, Pandazides lost her job with the Prince William County (Va.) Public Schools after she failed eight times to pass the National Teachers Examinations, which are required for permanent certification in the state. Angry and wanting her job back, Pandazides filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that she was discriminated against because of her disability. A federal judge dismissed the suit in October, but Pandazides’ lawyer, Steven Stone, intends to refile. Federal law, he says, prohibits employers from using tests that “prey upon” an applicant’s disabilities. The new lawsuit, he adds, will ask the state to make an “individual determination” for Pandazides that would take into account her teaching experience.

A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 1991 edition of Teacher as People

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

7796 - Director of EAL (K-12) - August '21
Dubai, UAE
GEMS Education
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read