We wish to lend our support for Waterloo educator Tom Strauss. We worked with Tom for over 20 years as elementary teachers in the Waterloo School District. Tom is a wonderful, caring man who loved being an educator. We never heard him refer to a child’s ethnicity or culture, they were just kindergarteners.
He was educated in the Waterloo School District and, as a high school and college student, would volunteer in our kindergarten classrooms. Tom was a wonderful co-worker who always supported us through the ups and downs of life. He loved teaching. He was the first person to school in the morning and the last to leave at night. His minivan was frequently seen at school on weekends.
He spent thousands of dollars of his own money on things to make his classroom an engaging and enjoyable place for children. Tom was truly invested in the community. He would display historical memorabilia from Waterloo’s past. He never looked to move to any other school district because he was a “Waterloo kid.”
It saddens us to think he is banned from the place he loved and dedicated so much of his life. It is unfortunate to see him portrayed so poorly in a media circus.
Tom is a positive “reflection” of a Waterloo that we knew where integrity and compassion were as much a part of the curriculum as academics. Everyone has a time when they reach a breaking point.
Tom never shied away from asking for help when he needed it and we are sure that this time was no different.
Ironically, schools work so hard to understand the actions of children, but the effort falls short for the staff that face the daily challenges in the classrooms. Teaching is so much more than catchy T-shirts, acronyms and ever-changing programs. It is about creating a community of active learners and helping to mold good citizens. Tom did all that and so much more. We are sorry to see such a fine individual endure such pain.
Sue and Nick Weber,