Sub-Cockle Area – The “Thank You” Blog

“Thank you for saying very nice things.” -Kieran McCarthy

Sometimes, we all just need to express our appreciation for the very nice things people have done for us.

Yes, this is like an awards show (minus the awards, and if I’m ever on TV, I’m going to need a lot of plastic surgery. And laser hair removal. God, this is awkward). This is a list of “thank you’s” to the people that have helped me along the way. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude, and to illustrate just how many people gave me a boost. Would that we were all this fortunate.

(Please note, if I forgot someone, I’m truly sorry – no offense was intended)


To my immediate family (Sonia, Andrew, and Allison) – thank you for sticking with me throughout the entire process and for believing in me even when I didn’t. This was truly a team effort.

To my parents Skip and Karen – thank you for not batting an eye when I started this process. It probably wasn’t easy to see your son take such a big plunge and for helping out our family. And thank you for letting me bust apart your neighbor’s maple tree – that was real therapy.

To my siblings Alyx and Justin – thank you for your advice, your guidance, your distractions, and your genuine interest as to how I was doing and where I ended up.

To all my nurse friends (especially Sharon, Sheila, Ketra, Diedra, Jennifer, Jenny, Melissa, Martha, Cindy, Sarah, Nan, Christine, and Charlie) – thank you for supporting me and encouraging me even though I was no longer working with you. And thank you for all the coffee clubs and keeping me social; I promise I won’t disappear.

To Dr. Parsley and Donna – thank you for being the best partners and co-workers I could ask for. Simply the best.

To Sara Duguay – thank you for being a sounding board and a source of positive energy.

To Drs. Rana and Skouby – Thank you for being “friendly competition” for a decade, but mostly, thanks for being a friend (and not judging me for making a big switch).

To Revs. Mehl, Zumwinkel, Reiter, and both Kanervas – thank you for keeping my soul intact, even when I wasn’t so sure I’d get through in one piece.

To my family in Chicago, Sacramento, and Arroyo Grande – thank you for giving us awesome diversions and trip to remember our crazy 16 months of adventure.

To Jeff Gottschalk – thank you for putting the idea in my head years ago that I could make a switch. “Yeah!! Do it!!” That was all the advice that I needed.

To Dennis Fricks – thank you for being a running partner for the first 7 months of 2017. I had so much to do working on the transition, that we don’t get our mid-week afternoon runs in anymore. But those really helped me.

To Aldene Fricks – I don’t wind up in education if I don’t pick your brain about how your career went. Thank you for worrying about me, and thank you for insulting me so I don’t ever get too big of head on my shoulders.

To Judy Ruf – thank you for sharing and discussing your own career transition (and frustrations). While it wasn’t nice to be in the same place at the same time, it was great to land our feet at the same time.

To Mike Erakovich – thank you for sharing your insight and checking in with me. We had a couple of well placed conversations that were real confidence boosters. It kept me buoyed.

To the Rosarios (Jen and Ben) – thank you for taking us in (twice!) in Flagstaff and for sharing your advice on how much time to take off (and how I would know I was “back”).

To Andrew Sutton, Shawn Dryden, Jake Brooks, Dr. Creek, Dr. LaBarge, Dr. Broom, and Dr. Maddox – thank you for giving me so much of your time and knowledge during my search. I may not have wound up in your fields, but the conversations were transformational, and showed me that I was on the right general path.

To Sue Eckberg – you went above and beyond of the terms of our contract. Thank you for your expertise and for being so positive throughout. And yes, you’re correct, you get out of the process what you put in to it.

To Monica Gutierrez – thank you for helping me see that I was an extrovert. That kept me from making a few bad decisions.

To Kieran McCarthy – thank you for your blog, the visit to Salida, and your “big picture” view of the entire process. You helped keep me “intellectually honest” about what I was doing

To Mrs. Driemeyer, Mrs. Fulluo, Mrs. Castelli, and Dr. Parker – thank you for taking time of your school year (or summer) to share your knowledge of teaching, and how I might get started. Thank you for sharing information on pathways and letting me in to your classrooms.

To all of the Sappington Elementary support staff, but especially Karen Rabinowitz – I had a ton of fun volunteering this year. I probably don’t wind up in education without you.

To Ms. Fritz – your conversation this fall got the ball rolling for me. Thank you for delineating the pathway and understanding where I was coming from.

To Joe Chambers, Liz Chambers, and Emily Pott – thank you for discussing 2nd career teaching, where to look, who to approach, and for going to bat for me.

To Carter Snow – Thank you for sharing your ABCTE experience and for the most helpful referrals I could ask for.

To Martha Keeley – You were a mentor, a science instructor, and an editor. If I work 20 years at this, I’m not sure I can pay you back. But, like you said, it will be my turn to help someone else eventually.

To the Bidstrups – thanks for being the most awesome Knox grads and taking us under your wing, even though we are 30 years apart!

To Custis, Reeves, and Adams Families – thank you for staying positive about the transition and making sure I was on my two feet.

To Katherine Dillender and family – thank you for sharing so much of your expertise on how a life in education affects your family, and for being incredibly positive about making big changes.

To Larry Welch – thank you for corresponding with me for 20 years and keeping tabs on where I was at. You are a mentor and a friend.

To John Oliver – thank you for being someone I can aspire to copy from. I will be using your expertise on a daily basis.

To Libby Montgomery – thank you for being my biggest cheerleader in the medical arena (outside of St. Louis) and not doubting for a second that I was doing the right thing.

And to Leah Winkler – thank you for being the best student I’ve worked with and for your positive attitude as I made the switch – you were my biggest cheerleader in the medical arena in St. Louis.

And once again, I want to thank my family. For the adventures of the last 16 months, and their unconditional love and support. And thank you for encouraging me to take my shot as an educator. I’m looking forward to the years and new adventures ahead of us.


This is list may not be complete. There are some people I have left off because I know they wouldn’t want to be mentioned in public. This should give you an idea of how much support many of us HOPEFULLY have on a regular basis. I like to think that I haven’t taken too much for granted. We should all be cognizant of how we got to where we are. This journey has been part planning, part hard work, part intelligence, part relying on good people, and yes, a little bit of luck. Time to make the best of this new opportunity; Lord knows I didn’t get here alone.

Author: Jason Kesselring

I am a 44 year old high school chemistry teacher (and former pediatrician), happily married, and a father of two wonderful children. I blog sporadically, and if there's a theme in here, please tell me what it is!

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