‘Really Saying Goodbye to Southern Humboldt,’ Teacher Leaving Writes Letter to Her Students’ Families

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South fork High schoolHello everyone,

First off, I would like to thank Kym for posting this message for me in order to help reach all of my students’ families. I have been going back and forth regarding how I wanted to write this or even if I should write it at all. Many tears have also been shed while writing this because it didn’t hit me until just now that I am really saying goodbye to Southern Humboldt.

When I got hired here at South Fork High School, I was saddened to hear about the high turnover rate at the school. Since day one, I made a promise to my students that I was going to be here as long as I could. I would always tease them and say, “I didn’t up and move my life in 7 business days to leave you all.” Very quickly your children opened up to me, and I have made some amazing bonds over the year-and-a-half here. I have challenged your kids with a more conventional style of Physical Education that included tests and worksheets, which they overcame with grace. We covered many units from volleyball, to football, to even lacrosse, which some enjoyed and others loved. Your children have also gone through so much adversity over my time here, and with each new challenge, they rose to the occasion. We went through the worst rain in years while also not having a gym or a field, due to construction. Then this year we awaited the completion of the new gym while also having a lack of physical education equipment. Each day kept me and the kids on our toes, and while there was frustration, we got through the day together.

This year provided its own challenges with a lot of turnover again within the district, and new leadership. I did my best to support every student by coaching two sports and attending every home game possible. I remember my junior high students having a volleyball tournament in Rio Dell on a Friday night, and as soon as it was over, driving back down to South Fork for homecoming. My whole philosophy on teaching is to be there for students beyond the classroom in any way that I can. I believe that your students taught me as much as I taught them in all aspects of the job.

When I told the students that the district non-reelected me, many were shocked and saddened. I did my best to comfort them and tell them that I knew it was going to happen and that we were going to make amazing memories until the end of the year. Even though it would have been easy to give up after being told I wasn’t coming back, I continued to work hard for the students. Students were there for me when I was being invalidated by some team members at the high school, and that established that I was meant to be here.

There are no words to describe how much it meant to me to teach your amazing students. Every single student impacted my life in a positive manner and in a fashion that will carry with me for many years to come. I wish your students the best of the luck in their future endeavors, and if they ever need anything, I forever will be available for them.

Brittany Jones



  • Brittany, I enjoyed reading your letter, and I am so sorry you are leaving. South Fork was a great school when I graduated in 1966. Every year since then it seemed to go down hill. Why they are not keeping a dedicated teacher such as yourself just shows the administration is not very bright and needs to be replaced. I would be willing to say that it is a money issue and your replacement will make a very low salary. Wishing you the very best for the future and hope you will be hired by a school the appreciates top-notch teachers like you. God bless.

  • The problem is not the district but the unions. There are some positions like PE that simply should not require a college education. A few simple classes would be fine. Paying a shop teacher or a PE teacher the same as physics or english teacher is wrong and lowers the quality of education. The teacher unions are to blame

    • What kind of uninformed person are you? The human body is complex, complicated. You want an uneducated individual teaching you people what they can do with their body?

      • The misadventures of bunjee

        This is PE, not sex ed. Nor is it ricket science. If you expect Einstein levels of education for HS classes in rural areas that also do not pay that well, replete with snnoying bureaucracy, you will continue to have districts running out of quality educators, if you can find any that didn’t go into other lines of work.

        • The solution is for the state to fund education at a current 2018 level. Politicians are happy to say that we are finally fully funding education, but fully funded at a 2008 level! My bills have gone up in 10 years, so have schools, yet we are expecting them to provide everything and more with the same amount.
          As far as a physics teacher being more deserving of higher pay than a shop teacher or PE teacher. .. well, there are more students benefiting from shop classes than physics. Students are more likely to get jobs with shop experience than physics. Do you own a car? Live in a home? Your statement has got to be one of the most ignorant statements I’ve read lately.

          • Judging from the teaching majors who went through the “Physics lite for teachers” (extremely lite too)classes with a 60% mean score when I was a lab assistant in college, it is much easier to find a any other kind of teacher than a physics teacher. Not that I think a PE teacher should be without training.

            BTW pretty much most of the population did without COLAs until the tiny rise last year. Which was not true for most school districts. And my taxes have gone up each year without a corresponding increase in income. So if taxes keep going up, where is the extra money going? Not on the roads. You say not to you. So where?

          • The point i was making was that a degre in physis or sciece is much more challanging than PE or shop and so I believe they should be in a higher pay scale. The unions demand all teachers be acreditrd so the unions get their cut. I agree that shoo and PE are benificial and imporant but come here. Is mrs.jones worth the same pay as say mr.parks? Of coarse not

        • The spell check on my device will change words repeatedly, sometimes as late as when I hit enter. You think you’ve corrected the computer correction then it nastily sneaks back and does it again. It’s a PITA and easy to miss. Besides Kym has a policy about the spelling police.

    • Patriot in Willits

      The state of California requires that teachers in public schools are credentialed. Most teachers enter teacher credentialing programs after they have already earned a B.A. Unions are not responsible.

      • The Shills have their marching orders: “Attack unions wherever, and whenever possible!” Most attacking unions and health care provisions have themselves benefited from organized labor’s victories in the 1920’s. It’s a case of, “I got mine, now I’m going to make sure no one else get’s theirs.”
        I had no idea there were this many fascists in our country. But are there really? Or is it just that this fascist minority has access to the microphone, so they make themselves bigger and more powerful than they actually are?

    • The unions support the status quo, which is that the average teacher in Humboldt is paid 49k a year, and superintendents and others at the top get 150k a year. What do the elites do for the extra 100k? Not much. According to the stats, we could have 4 more teachers if we got rid of the unjust pay gap. But it is part of the reward for maintaining what the unions want, which is to keep our kids down, so they can ask for more money, usually ending up in the hands of “union teachers” who tow the line, and bend to the will of their corporate masters. 70% of kids in Maxine Waters district cannot read to their grade level. Typical democrat system, which rewards sub standard instead of excellence. The state of California is last in the nation in so many ways, especially education. This is a democrat state, it fails our kids, it fails all of us. Fortunately, we republicans have developed Freedom Schools, which teach the truth, and work with the kids who get left behind by our failed union system. You cannot believe how many kids we have changed from little Hiiiaries to proud of our country Trumpians. There are thousands of these schools all over the state and nation. Haven’t heard of one, you will. In just 6 months, they are good republicans, and will never vote democrat. Gives you faith in the future.

      • BS. your freedom schools are a joke and score much lower than public schools. They are indoctrination centers creating perfect little fascists.

        • The democrats have hurt so many poor people. The gas tax hurts the poor, now they cannot buy as much food or their medicine. The property taxes have caused people to loose their homes. In fact, why are we now paying so much in taxes when all of our property values have dropped so much? We also teach, in our freedom schools, about Zenyab Al-Hirith, the Jewish woman who killed Mohammed. Our hero. We teach wood shop, horsemanship, tractor operation, equipment maintenance. Got that stuff in you substandard public schools? And all these skills can be done without paying taxes.

    • Why shouldn’t it require a college education. Teaching is not easy.

  • Taurus Ballzhoff

    The revolving door at the entrance to SoHum schools, and also, Jerold Phelps Hospital still is operating well!

    When competent outsiders report to jobs in SoHum, all they hear is about the 18 other persons who “used to work here”. The level of hostility, of ignorance, of provincialism and fear of outsiders, is usually quite palpable. If one shrugs it off and tries anyway, he will be seen as “someone who wants to change something”. New folks in SoHum will be randomly attacked by coworkers who hate and fear the new employee, and the outsiders, too often, will resign and leave, if they are not terminated.

    I have said it before, but, to my eye, SoHum is perched on the edge of a renaissance, but continues to resist it with both hands!

    Too often, the entrenched locals need to be replaced with anyone else, but refuse to relax their grip, to allow the healthy changes and evolution that is necessary.

    My advice, don’t wait for these people to die off or retire.

    Speak up, force change, or YOU may be the next to want to leave!

    • This one didn’t “want to leave”. She wanted to stay. And it sounds as though she wanted to stay the good old fashioned SoHum way, NOT further encourage a wrong kind of modernized county.

      All our schools are waaaay too heavy to the administration side, and it’s impossible to keep truly good teachers — no matter what they’re paid — when that’s the case.

      • Taurus Ballzhoff

        Folks don’t want to leave” because they “want to stay”… They leave because there are many opportunities and few candidates.

        For my profession, 1600 posts on Indeed, in CA, today. For competent teachers, very similar.

        There is not much impetus to stay in a County as backwards as Humboldt, and yes, replacing backwards Administrators is a good place to begin to improve your schools and Hospitals…

    • Kathryn M Houser

      Sounds like you people are losing and amazing woman and teacher for your children what a shame WHY when we don’t have enough teachers educators that care like this women does and many others that have our children best interests at HEART just saying

  • Wow . . . a good PE teacher earns their pay with well organized, motivating, quality instruction. Also, PE teachers are often given much larger classes than other teachers. A good PE teacher contributes to the overall academic success of a school by motivating students to be physically active and enthusiastic about learning. PE teachers don’t simply supervise play. They teach and model and are a valuable member of a teaching staff.

  • Tball —you were fired for cause. Its very easy for you to cast yourself as a victim and make all sorts of accusatory statements about your ex employer. But as you well know they are not allowed to discuss your work history or any other aspect of your personnel file publicly. I don’t have a clue why Ms. Jones is being let go and neither do you so stop painting our community with your negative sour grapes observations.

    • Taurus Ballzhoff


      You don’t seem to know much of anything, but you spout off with slanderous comments often!

      You were not involved. You were not there. The records, whatever records kept, should be confidential. Your remarks show that you are ignorant, and you have no reason to slander, defame, or accuse me of anything at all!

      Be careful.

      Politics are politics, personal is personal. Any remark I make is my opinion only.

      Dave, you did not see what I saw. I suggest you go off and run your little shop, and sell some real estate when you can, and enjoy your retirement.

      Getting all upset about things you can’t control, randomly attacking people you do not know at all, these things will not help you and are probably not a good idea.

      However little you do know, I lived in Redway 5 years, worked in Healthcare in Humboldt and Mendo and Trinity.

      Documented facts:

      SHCHD has had incredibly high turnover in the past, over 60% some years, by the public admission of the CEO. SHCHD fires people when finances get tight. I watched Harry Jasper make up crap about people and fire them. Then he did it to me. I observed this directly.

      Everyone on the board of SHCHD is aware of these things. You probably saw this stuff happen yourself.

      I came to SHCHD to help, at a time when the hospital had no full time employee in the lab, and when it had numerous regulatory deficiencies.

      So many people have been hired an fired, so many have quit… these are documented facts.

      If you continue to make up trash about people, you will lose credibility. Even with as little as you have currently…

      How many Teachers from South Fork have resigned? Get real, it’s not improving, and the students pay the price. Probably should pay better salaries, make some changes!

      When competent individuals who are experienced and well educated leave your community, the citizens are the losers. Poor administration of your local agencies, and the personality of your region have a lot to do with it. Provincialism, local paranoia, hatred of outsiders, these are traits which will not improve your community, and these are traits which you personally exhibit often!

      Having a town full of drug addicts and total losers does not help either…

      You often fuss about property values, but the fact is, when people who can afford property leave the area, those property values will fall. Pot farming and drug dealing are long-range untested, and you should focus on getting retiring baby-boomers who want a quiet lifestyle to move there. People like me! Hating outsiders, hey, it doesn’t help anyone!

      I understand clearly that it is a waste of time to argue with you. I am from a farming community and I am used to small town values.

      Enjoy your town, have fun in your hospital. You were obviously made for each other! And please don’t think your town is unique. There are towns and people everywhere!

      Dave, see you at the farmer’s market sometime!

      • There are not a lot of small towns where 73% of the voters decide to tax themselves to keep their emergency services. And Tball I haven’t owned the Blue Moon for many years and I let my real estate license go a long time ago. I guess not living here you lose track of the facts. Doubt I would eat anything you’d bring to a farmers market…too bitter.

        • Taurus Ballzhoff

          73% of 10,000 would have been 7300. Let’s see, 865 voters from a population of 10,000, uh , that’s 8.7%, not 73%.

          Statistics don’t lie, except in Garberville.

          You won the right to pay extra taxes, and you elected all the property owners to do the same. I imagine this will make your hospital even more popular than it already isn’t.

          Whatever you do, do it with style, Dave. I will be playing golf.

          I am not a farmer, but I do enjoy the Garberville Farmer’s Market!

          Happy Trails, Dave!

    • The truth hurts doesn’t it. This area is extremely antiquated and stagnant. Anyone who wants to bring positive change is ridiculed.
      Exercise,sports, PE etc is an extremely important for childhood development. If our youth grew up being addicted to excersise, sports etc..instead of drugs just imagine what our culture would be like. PE , Art & Music teachers are extremely crucial for a morally healthy culture.

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