We are writing to express our support for Patrick McAndrew, a teacher who has long been regarded as a District 97 treasure and who is facing removal from his Beye School teaching position.
We are 36-year Oak Park residents and raised three children here, all of whom attended Beye School. Our family came to know Mr. McAndrew over a period of several years and during that time we experienced him as a gifted, committed, and joyful teacher who went above and beyond to ensure that all students received an excellent educational experience.
Having spent countless hours at Beye School as volunteers, we observed Mr. McAndrew firsthand, long before he became our youngest son’s teacher. As a teacher, he was a tireless and enthusiastic advocate for his students, working with the children, staff, and parents to maximize educational success. Mr. McAndrew demonstrated a genuine love of teaching, his enthusiasm for learning was infectious, and his energy seemingly boundless.
Additionally, he regularly went above and beyond his teaching duties, organizing theatrical presentations and other popular extracurricular activities. When our son became his student, we learned that Mr. McAndrew was not only inspired and creative, but also firm in his expectation that students consistently bring their best effort. We have always experienced Mr. McAndrew as an unquestionably professional teacher who embodies respect, compassion, and integrity. He is clearly an invaluable role model for all our children.
Given this, we are bewildered by the decision to terminate Mr. McAndrew from his teaching position. While we understand that some administrative rule-breaking may be in question, it is unimaginable that termination could be a reasonable response considering the alleged offense and his years of service to our children.
We all need to be celebrating and supporting our teachers right now instead of looking for ways to demoralize them — and their students — even further. The loss of Mr. McAndrew would be tragic, short-sighted, and would send a message to our children about what we as adults value — administrative rules over continued access to a dedicated, remarkable, and beloved teacher.
Judy Roth and Steve James, Oak Park