Bound for Michigan, Robin Houlahan to leave Foothill


Emma Huebner

History and English teacher Robin Houlahan will be leaving Foothill next year. Credit: Bethany Fankhauser/The Foothill Dragon Press
History and English teacher Robin Houlahan will be leaving Foothill next year. Credit: Bethany Fankhauser/The Foothill Dragon Press

Much sorrow followed World History and English teacher Robin Houlahan’s announcement last week that she will be leaving Foothill and moving to Michigan next year.

“I am absolutely devastated she’s leaving,” United States History teacher Claire Adams said.

Houlahan and Adams used to teach U.S. history together and are good friends outside of school. They commute to Foothill together every morning from Santa Barbara.

“She is incredibly compassionate and caring and really makes an effort to know her students,” Adams said. “Sort of mentoring and advising students not just on academics but their personal lives as well.”

Houlahan’s husband has been accepted to a graduate program in naval architecture and engineering at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

“I don’t have a plan yet, and I think that’s the scariest part,” she said.

Over her past seven years teaching at Foothill, Houlahan has worked closely with the other tenth grade teachers to develop creative curriculum and hands-on learning.

“She has been a huge part of making really rich, integrative curriculum for students,” Principal Joe Bova said. “I think the thing we’ll miss the most is her enthusiasm and creativity for helping students.”

Houlahan has collaborated with Foothill teachers Chris Prewitt, Cherie Eulau, Melissa Wantz, Jason Dinkler, and Jennifer Kindred to enrich the tenth grade World History and English curriculum.

“Our classrooms are side by side, and our doors open next to each other,” sophomore English teacher Wantz said. “At the start of every period, three to six times a day, we stand together and greet our students, and we talk up to the tardy bell and then wind up laughing as we come into our rooms to teach.”

Houlahan and Wantz have worked together to establish classroom projects for their tenth grade history and English classes. The two teachers also traveled to Sierra Leone last summer with Eulau and Prewitt on a Fund for Teachers Fellowship.

“I’ve collaborated so much with Mrs. Houlahan over the past four years that I feel like her professional Siamese twin,” Wantz said. “It’s so refreshing to work really hard alongside someone with such a positive attitude and great work ethic.”

Houlahan is known for her sense of humor and creativity in and out of the classroom.

“She was always really happy to do lessons that involved acting out history which was a lot of fun,” senior Ciana Iverson said.

Iverson took tenth grade World History and eleventh grade U.S. History under Houlahan’s instruction.

“I loved the soldier project. It was a project where we had to write a letter as a soldier to our family describing what was going on in the war,” Iverson said. “Mrs. Houlahan is a great teacher and that is because she loves doing what she does.”

The thing Houlahan says she will miss the most about Foothill is the positive work environment, a vibe that she says comes from both the students and teachers.

“I will miss the day to day interactions,” she said.

Iverson will miss having Houlahan on campus.

“I will miss the way she says water, and how she always knows when you are feeling down, and what to say to cheer you up,” Iverson said.


What do you think?