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Popular JLS Middle School teacher dies

Original post made on May 7, 2009

Students at JLS Middle School learned Thursday of the loss of Stephen Carothers, a teacher at the school since 1991.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 7, 2009, 10:30 PM

Comments (32)

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Posted by C.Almasi
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 7, 2009 at 10:40 pm

R.I.P Stephan Carothers. He was a teacher, a leader, a friend, and a father to most students. He will not be forgotten.

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Posted by Mary Hansen
a resident of Ohlone School
on May 7, 2009 at 10:53 pm

To Dulcy and Megan - We are so very sorry. I just have no words. This community has lost a true educational treasure. We're thinking of you and sending our thoughts to you and your family at this impossibly difficult time.
--Mary, John, Kimberly and Chris Hansen

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Posted by Omer
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I never had Mr. C as a teacher, but he always seemed really amazing and I always heard great things about him. RIP, the community will truly miss, but never forget, you.

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Posted by Parent of Connections students
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 7, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Both my children were privileged to have "Mr. C." as their teacher and mentor. My youngest in particular thought of him as extended family. He was truly wonderful and inspiring to the children in Connections and the whole community. I hope his legacy, the terrific Connections program, will be able to go on supporting and enriching the lives of children for many years to come. He will be very much missed.

Our condolences to his family. We are so sorry for your loss.

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Posted by Kathy Mallory
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 8, 2009 at 8:07 am

To the family of Mr. Carothers i want you to know that my son loved Mr. C. He was a wonderful role-model. I believe my son will try and always incorporate his memory into his life. Because of Steve he loves history and may even become a history teacher. I think Steve would have liked to know this. Thank you for sharing your husband/father with the JLS community for so many years for he was a treasure for so many of us and our children.

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Posted by Linda Baker
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 8, 2009 at 10:17 am

Stephen was an inspirational and passionate leader for the students at JLS and especially in Connections - an educator through and through. He will be sorely missed.

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Posted by Lois Bridges
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2009 at 10:33 am

We are heartbroken. Our daughter Erin Bird absolutely adored Mr. Carothers. She's decided to become a secondary science teacher and I know Mr. C's gentle hands-on inquiry approach -- one that honors children as creative thinkers with important questions of their own -- informs and inspires her own work with children. Our hearts go out to the Carothers family. We feel privileged to have known your remarkable father and husband.His teaching legacy lives on in the lives of those he touched and influenced.

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Posted by Terrie Gordon Gamble
a resident of Stanford
on May 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

My sons transition to middle school was paved by the attention,kindness and humor of Mr. C. He was an incredible educator, mentor and friend. I can only hope that other teachers at JLS will emulate all that Mr. C brought to his students so that the hole he has left will not be so gaping. Thank you to his family for sharing him with us over the years. We all benefitted from knowing him.

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Posted by Amado Padilla
a resident of Stanford
on May 8, 2009 at 10:48 am

I remember Steve Carothers from when my son attended JLS Middle School and from my service on the PAUSD Board of Education. Steve was an outstanding educator -- good teacher, loved kids, and willing to make JLS a better place for students in every way he could. He'll be missed.

Amado Padilla

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Posted by Sondra Glider
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 8, 2009 at 10:55 am

Stephan was an inspirational, remarkable teacher who sustained the Connections program and was a true friend to his students. His energy, enthusiasm for teaching, dedication to his students, and wonderful sense of humor will always be remembered. We will miss him, and we send our condolences to his family.

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Posted by Bill Schneiderman
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 8, 2009 at 11:47 am

What sad news! I remember Steve as a warm and dedicated teacher. JLS has truly lost a great staff member. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

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Posted by JLS / Paly Parent
a resident of Midtown
on May 8, 2009 at 12:26 pm

The only comfort we take is that Steve did so much good in his life--he has added to the intellectual and moral well-being of our children and enriched our community in ways like no other. Blessed soul. We miss him.

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Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on May 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Stephen was a kind and gentle person, supportive, loving, funny, smart as anything, inspirational, a real thinker. I am going to miss having him in our world. I have many many happy memories of soccer fields and choir events. I am thinking so much about the loved ones he has left behind.

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Posted by Marianne Atkinson
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I had Mr.Carothers for two years, ad he never failed to be the father i wish i had. Even though i moved to Ohio recently, i will always remember him. He was a wonderful man and always will be. It was hard not to love him when you met him, for his personality. He was always there to support me when i needed it most and somehow i always did. Mr.Carothers you will always be remembered by those who loved you and i know you are in a better place. Rest in peace, and to everyone who ever had him, do us all a favor and never forget his love for teaching and his compassion that made him the best teacher you ever had! Thank you so much!

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Posted by Connections Parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 8, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Stephen will be greatly missed by the students, parents and staff at JLS. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor to so many students -- even one he didn't teach. My 7th grader is heartbroken to not have him around any longer as a teacher and leader in the Connections program and my 3rd grader is sad that she will never get the chance to have him.

Condolences to his family and I hope they can find some peace in the knowledge of how many lives he touched in a positive way.

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Posted by Jennifer Fitzmorris
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 8, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Our family feels Stephen's passing very deeply. His presence at JLS was instrumental to two of our children who had the luck to be in Connections. If you haven't been to "The Garden of the Open Mind" at JLS, take a look. Stephen masterminded turning a small dirt patch bordering Fairmeadow into a reflective garden for JLS students and with the help of the Connections community he made it happen. The garden was just one of many lasting gifts that he left for us.

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Posted by Larry Magid
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I am so sorry to hear about Stephen's passing. My son Will was in the first Connections class for two years. He was not only a great teacher, he was a terrific role model and he became a friend. He will be missed.

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Posted by Dave
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Wow! What a shock. He was such a great guy. I only knew him in passing, but we always had a good laugh when I'd good naturedly tease him about him winning a Mark Twain look alike contest. He'll definitely be missed. You could really tell that his students adored him.

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Posted by TwoSides
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Was this sudden? What happened? I'm sorry for your loss.

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Posted by Tekla Sivyer
a resident of Barron Park
on May 8, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Mr. C was always their for his daughthers softball game with a big smile! His daughther played softball at gunn and so did my daughter
I to lost my father at 18yrs old and my father was 56yrs old I'm sooo
very sorry he was a very good man!!!!

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Posted by S. Hain
a resident of Midtown
on May 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm

It is with deepest regret we can not turn back the clock and once again say to Stephen thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have done. Stephen created a vibrant, wonderful community at JLS and I feel so fortunate he taught my two kids to value their education and value those around them. We miss him terribly. He was a great educator, teacher, mentor and friend. Long live Connections and his memory.

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Posted by Edie Heideman
a resident of Midtown
on May 8, 2009 at 6:33 pm

My daughters and son, Courtney, Brittany and Adrian Heideman had the blessing and privilege of being in Mr. Carother's 6th grade class. I was fortunate to be involved in many class activities and field trips with them. Steve was one of the finest, funniest, smartest, warmest, creative people I've ever known. In addition, he was the best teacher my children had throughout school. He and I had long talks about spiritual matters, health, and such. We were friends to this day and would run into him in town, where he was always ready with a hug. When Adrian died at age 18, Steve gave our family great comfort. I am shocked by his sudden death and I wonder what could have happened, but more importantly, I send love, hugs, comfort and concern to his lovely wife, son and daughter.

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Posted by Susan Moskowitz
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 8, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Please accept our deepest sympathy. We have wonderful memories of your entire family from Odysey of The Mind.

Susan and Amy Moskowitz

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Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I met Steve when we introduced the first Odyssey of the Mind in Palo Alto at JLS in mid 1990s. Since then I saw him many times in committees and meetings, tirelessly advocating for Palo Alto students. My deepest sympathy to his family and his countless students. This is a great loss for us all.


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Posted by Srinivasans
a resident of Midtown
on May 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Steve was a great guy, a lively person in this neighborhood. He has
seen my kids grow up on the same street, and my kids like him. This is
a big loss. And very surprising. May his soul rest in peace. Our deepest condolences to family.

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Posted by Oscar Romero
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

He was my teacher in 6th grade. That was the only grade I attended at JLS before having to move prior to the end of the school year. I'm now 25. His name is one of the few who has stayed with me throughout all these years. I came across this article & was deeply saddened by his passing. He is a true hero & a great mentor. When I struggled through my studies & felt like it was the end of the world, he surprised me with the words, "it's okay." It took me a while to completely understand what he meant by it, but when I did, it made perfect sense. He was caring and loved all of us who were his students. He donated a lot of his personal time to help his students. I only wish I could have told him personally how much of an impact he had on my life. Somehow though, I'm sure that he knew how much his students loved him. There are many who will always hold him dear to their hearts.

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Posted by Gene Simpson
a resident of Barron Park
on May 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm

"a true hero!" There is so much in those words, but words cannot convey the full measure of Stephen's greatness.

I am so sorry that his family does not have him anymore. Carothers Family, please accept my sympathy in your loss. We miss him so much but you must miss him more.

One day when I was volunteering in Stephen's classroom, a student did something very unacceptable. The class was shocked and I expected Stephen to get angry, but he walked up the the student and merely said, "would you like your father to have seen that?" Stephen was a teacher beyond compare.

I loved that man for taking such loving care of my two children, although he only had the one for a few months. Goodbye "Mr. C."

Gene Simpson

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Posted by Sherab Gyatso
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2009 at 7:59 am

Teacher Steve is a hero and active teacher. He invited me to his classes to talk to students about Tibetan people and their culture. He also helped me raise donations from his students at J.L. Middle School for a school project in Tibet. I am going to implement this school project this summer. With the donations from his students and friends, we are providing warm bedding to 300 boarding school kids and building two solariums in front of dormitory rooms. On behalf of all the Tibetan students who re going to benefit from Teacher Steve organized project, I want to express our gratitude to him for his generous support.

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Posted by Carolyn Tucher
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on May 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Steve has been a teacher for his friends as well as his students. I have always admired his way of encouraging students - and adults - to reach their own conclusions and then share them with the group. I smile when remembering his sense of humor and his ability to think outside the matter how big the "box" might be. What a wonderful friend and remarkable teacher!

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Posted by Becky Bernat
a resident of Midtown
on May 17, 2009 at 9:46 pm

To Stephen's family,
Thank you for sharing your wonderful husband, dad, brother with all of us in the PAUSD for so long. The twinkle in Stephen's eye surely drew many people to the Connections program with the promise of a fun and inspiring educational experience for their kids - his kindness, honesty, and positive spirit shown through along with his passion for innovative teaching. My son has had very few male teachers, but was so lucky that Stephen was one of those few. My son really misses Stephen and has been even quieter than usual the last week or two. I know he is grieving as we all are to think we won't be seeing Stephen again firing up the classroom. Our thanks to Stephen for the years of work and dedication for the kids of PA. We will miss him. My sincere sympathy for your loss.

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Posted by Raphael Bivas
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Both my sister and I had Mr. Carothers as a teacher at JLS. I was in the second Connections class for all three years. Mr. Carothers was an amazing teacher. He inspired student involvement and awareness of political issues (i.e. the unsuccessful Mitchell Park renovation protest effort, the mock campaign ad assignment before the 2000 election, and the 8th grade Washington Trip). He also gave us many opportunities to practice dialogue and interaction, as well as personal responsibility.

It was a shock that he died so soon. He was not only a teacher, but a friend. The last time that I saw him was at a reunion for my Connections class before we went to college. It's a shame that he will not be able to hear from us, now that most of us are either done, or almost done, with college.

My condolences to the Carothers family as they go through this difficult time.

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Posted by Sadaf
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 3, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Mr. Carothers was one of my favorite teacher. He was a great teacher, so knowledgeable and kind. He taught me history in a way I had never learned before and a way that has stayed with me all these years. It is partly because of Mr. Carothers that I am studying to become a teacher. I want to be able to reach out to kids as he did for me then.

I was in his class in 1993 for sixth grade, we all went to Science Camp together, learned about the homo-sapians, and had SO many fun, memorable and artsy projects. Mr. Carothers voted me for "Student of the Month," which was the best feeling in the world.

He will truly be missed. He will always be loved. He will forever be remembered. I know I will.

God Bless Him and all his love.

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