By Grace Sauser, Principal, Davis Adult and Community Education, District Director, DJUSD AVID
Harvey Gunderman practically tripped and fell into Adult Education. “I never considered working in adult education, but now, it seems like it’s where I was always meant to be,” he says with his characteristic grin on his face. Harvey came to my attention 3 years ago when he was referred to me as an AVID tutor (AVID being my other hat in the district). I told him that I was looking for tutors for our adult night program, but, at that time, I had no resources to pay him. He offered to volunteer two nights a week and the teachers were happy to have his help. Soon, he was coming into the office early to see how he could help and the teachers were praising the way he was able to connect with students in the classroom.
Eventually, we were able to bring him on as an hourly paid tutor, but his role soon expanded to include attending trainings on CASAS testing, TOPS Pro, and consortium initiatives. Once our state funding was restored, I created the position of Adult School Coordinator, a job tailor made for his skill set and capabilities. He has been my right hand man ever since, running all of our CASAS testing, acting as our data manager in Tops, assisting both ESL and ASE teachers, and running all of our student orientation sessions. Harvey is a self-starter and problem-solver extraordinaire. I know that I can give him any task, some idea of what I am looking for, and he will figure out the best way to get it done. It’s amazing to have such a great assistant who can not only accomplish the day to day tasks, but also act as a thought partner for new ideas and as a leader for our school.
Harvey is currently attending UC Davis, majoring in Philosophy and considering a double major or minor in Education. I worry about the day that he graduates because I don’t know what I will do without him, but I also cheer his success. If you attend the CCAE conference in the Spring, keep a look out for Harvey (you’ll know him when you see him), and come by and say hi!