By Cindy Adams


"I truly believe we are only as good as what we do for the people who need us most."

-David Tudge, Roanoke Minnick retired assistant teacher.

Reflection is a natural part of life transitions, particularly in retirement. It’s where memories and hope mingle. David Tudge would likely agree as he looked back on his teaching career. David retired in June after 12 ½ years at Roanoke Minnick. He did so with much gratitude and his reason was crystal clear. He found a place where he could be the best version of himself.

"David leads by serving," said Rebecca Bays, Roanoke Minnick principal. "He is the first to offer help, he engages everyone, and there is absolutely no job beneath him."

David was known to arrive at school each morning with a pillow in hand. He routinely headed to the gym and spent the early morning hours in meditation, preparing his heart and mind to give the best to his students.

"This population of students put me in touch with the best part of me," David said. "The older I get, the more I am convinced that it comes down to operating from the heart. The kids here allow me to practice that."

What kept him motivated and energized over the years was his earnest belief in this work. Plus, he says it made him feel good about himself. The truth is, he made the students feel good about themselves.

David sits on the floor and reads a book with a student

"David has a way of connecting with each student on their level," said Rebecca. "He didn’t give them too much, but he also managed to challenge them. He found that fine line by developing relationships. He was genuinely interested in each student."

David said he was firm but fair with his students. His goal was to be a leader in the classroom and to establish respect, but he was quick to play and be goofy when the occasion presented itself.

David also valued his co-workers. He found that a mix of professionalism and fun characterized each day, maybe because of the eclectic group of people and the variety of experiences.

"When I needed support, it was always there," David said. "I felt teamwork."

David encourages those considering Minnick to come with an open heart and mind and see what happens. Maybe you will discover the best part of you. And it doesn’t get much better than that.