Valverde sums up 40 years and counting

Mrs. Ottilie Valverde is celebrating 40 years of teaching at Riordan.

riordanhs.org

Mrs. Ottilie Valverde is celebrating 40 years of teaching at Riordan.

Grayson Salomon ’22, Editor-in-Chief

The 2020-2021 school year marks the 40th year of math teacher Ottilie Valverde being a part of the Riordan community. Valverde was one of the first women teachers here, and also shares 40 years of being a Crusader with Coach Liam Watters.

Before Valverde joined the Crusader family, she had many teaching experiences in the Bay Area and even outside the country. Valverde taught intermediately at an Army Education Center in Stuttgart, Germany. She taught there for three years, until she moved to San Francisco with her husband, where they started and raised their family. During that time, she did some substitute teaching for the SFUSD for a couple of years, and later started teaching in Richmond, across the bay.

Valverde said, “Before coming to teach at ARHS, I was living in San Francisco and teaching in Richmond. Public schools in San Francisco were not hiring and I began to investigate Catholic schools. I had gone to Catholic school for my whole life, including college, so I contacted the Archdiocese of San Francisco, inquiring about openings for math teachers. There were three. I applied to all and each made an offer. I chose Riordan.”

She talked about what it was like during the interview process and how she made the decision to teach here. She heard a rumor that Riordan was not hiring women teachers. In the interview, she was told that there had been teachers that had not stayed, mostly because of discipline issues with students.

“With my experience both in the Army and in public school, I did not believe that discipline would be an issue for me. There were two women teachers my first year; the other woman was a former nun, who taught Theology and was a very successful teacher,” said Valverde.

Valverde discussed how she felt being one of the first women teachers at Riordan. “It is, and has been, an honor to be one of the first female teachers at Riordan. Participating in Riordan’s first Kairos Retreat was really where I found the heart and true spirit of Riordan and in my life as a Riordan teacher. I have never forgotten that experience,” reminisced Valverde.

Every year with Mrs. Valverde is inspirational. She is my role model for being an effective math teacher, motivational, and spiritual leader. I learned creative math activities as well as how to ‘be’ and live in the present with God as my guide.”

— Mary Ann Datoc

Math teacher Mary Ann Datoc, who has worked with Valverde for 16 years at Riordan, told The Crusader Valverde has been an inspiration to her, and her role model for teaching math.

Datoc said, “Every year with Mrs. Valverde is inspirational. She is my role model for being an effective math teacher, motivational, and spiritual leader. I learned creative math activities as well as how to ‘be’ and live in the present with God as my guide.”

Valverde has taught math for 40 years. This year, she teaches Geometry, Geometry Honors and SAT Math prep. She also is the co-moderator of the National Honor Society with math teacher Keith Harrington. But that is not all she has done at the R.

Valverde listed her Riordan experiences, and at one point was moderator for The Crusader.

“For the last several years, I have been part of the Campus Ministry Program (Crusader Brothers, then Crusader Mentors, Freshman Retreat coordinator and follow-up). Other work at ARHS that I have done in the past includes being the moderator of the school newspaper for five years, Director of Campus Ministry for eight years, Math Department Chair for several years; sponsor of the Math Club for four years; accompanied interested students to the Math Circle at S.F. State for four years, CSF moderator for six years, then NHS Moderator for several years; I also was the WASC coordinator twice. I was on Riordan’s first Kairos Retreat and have been the coordinator or a team member on many Kairos Retreats since. I was on the L.I.F.E Retreat twice as a team member. I was on the TAM (Teaching as Ministry) Program and was a presenter twice,” said Valverde.

Former Geometry student Jack Burros ’22 touched upon what makes Valverde’s class a fun experience.

“I just liked how we were allowed to do group work and she was a chill teacher and had good ways of teaching with objects and helped students in ways that suited them,” he recalled.

Burros also mentioned how at the beginning of the pandemic, she was one of the teachers who actively and frequently used Zoom. She offered several class times, which was a big help in such a challenging time.

Former Geometry and SAT Math Prep student, Jamm Magaling ’22, talked about how her class was efficient even during distance learning.

He said, “Although it can be very difficult to learn through distance learning, especially a subject like math, Mrs. Valverde was still successful in reaching her students. With just one quarter of classes, the majority of students’ SAT math scores greatly increased, all thanks to Mrs. Valverde. She taught us great test taking shortcuts, she broke down very difficult problems and made it easier for students to understand.”

Although much of the future is cloudy right now because of the pandemic, this is clear: Valverde plans on returning to Riordan next school year.

Editors’ Note: The Crusader will feature a story on Coach Liam Watters in a future issue.