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A school should be named after Jansen

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Posted: Friday, June 7, 2002 10:00 pm

Lodi Unified School District announced intentions to name its new schools after deceased educators.

This honors the old adage, "If you can read this, thank a teacher." A good teacher breaks down the complexities of learning to its components.

A candidate for this distinction should be Raymond M. Jansen, the district's first superintendent. His career could be a role model for any youngster starting out in life.

Although forces were in action, it took his efforts and personality to finalize the 19 separate districts into one. There is a saying that an organization is the shadow of its leader.

It was his lot to explain to each of the absorbed districts that, in the long run, it would be better for their children, and generations to come, to give up their community's identity and authority. This took guileless tact. The schools, several gifts from families, were the center of their social lives. They had decided what the cafeterias would serve, and nearly every other community activity. They knew that their community-school involvement was gone forever. A bitter pill.

That he did his job well is still evidenced by the real estate advertisement, "In the Lodi Unified School District." He used two of the absorbed districts' superintendents in his administration. He maintained and "open door" policy, and personally listened to all grievances and suggestions. Wherever possible, he maintained the teachers and staff at the operating schools.

His attitude caused each employee to feel that they were members of a good team. The best teachers were attracted to bring their skills to LUSD. The high schools maintained a dress code. When it came time to replace Tokay High School, the bond issue had no trouble passing. His expressed interest in youngsters, after being retired as superintendent, was maintaining an office at Lodi High School to help students find at least part time work in the community.

On a returning flight from an administrative conference on student employment, a final stroke ended his career. But his optimistic philosophy is still one of the forces at LUSD.

Duane M. Linstrom Sr. Lodi

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