George M. Wertz: Teacher, Pennsylvania State Senator, and US Congressman

220px-GeorgeMWertzThere are many fine instances where skillful educators who have also made their mark in the political realm. One example of this is George M. Wertz, an Ohio teacher who also served in the Pennsylvania State Senate.
George was born July 19, 1856, near Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Jacob and Mary (Hoffman) Wertz, and was born one of seven children on the family farm homestead. As a youngster, he attended public schools, Ebensburg Academy, and the National Normal School in Lebanon, Ohio. In later years, National Normal School merged with Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio. After his graduation from college, George found employment as a teacher, working from 1876 to 1884. He continued his service as an educator working as a school director from 1886 to 1894. George began his career in politics when he was elected county commissioner, a position he held from 1893 to 1896. He went on to serve as sheriff of Cambria County, Pennsylvania, from 1897 to 1901. In 1909, the former teacher was elected as a Republican to the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he served until 1913. Once he left the state senate, George organized and managed the Johnstown Daily Leader, where he worked from 1911 to 1917. Between 1923 and 1925, George served in the 68th United States House of Representatives representing Pennsylvania. After he left Congress, George worked as a real estate agent. This talented educator and politician passed away at the age of 72 on November 19, 1928. He is buried in Grand View Cemetery in Johnstown. The family farm where he was born has been named a state forest.

Patrick Seitz: Animated Move, Anime and Video Game Voice Over Artist—and High School English Teacher

patrick_seitz_full2There are many fine examples of teachers who have made their mark in professions other than education. Such is certainly the case for David Patrick Seitz, a high school Language Arts teacher who has also distinguished himself as a voice actor, script writer, and ADR director. ADR means automated dialogue replacement, and is commonly known as “dubbing.”

David Patrick who prefers to be called Patrick, was born March 17, 1978, in Riverside, California, and raised in that suburb of Los Angeles. After graduating from high school, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing (1999), and his master’s degree in Creative and the Performing Arts Writing (2005), both from the University of California, Riverside. Then he went to work as an English teacher at his high school alma mater.

In 2001, the enterprising educator began his career as a voice actor. In this capacity, Patrick has provided voices for several English versions of Japanese anime and video games, performing in over 100 projects to date. In the movies, Patrick is known for his work on the animated movies Inside Out (2015), Monsters University (2013) and Resident Evil: Damnation (2012). He has also done voice over work for video games. He has supplied the voice of Ragna in the BlazBlue series, Scorpion in the last few Mortal Kombat titles, Lucian, Kog’Maw, and Renekton in League of Legends, Arthas Menethil and Garrosh Hellscream in World of Warcraft, among others. As an ADR director, Patrick has adapted and directed over 100 episodes of popular series. He adapted and directed the English dubbed versions of Girls Bravo, Kamichu, Tales of Phantasia, Zegapain, Hell Girl, and Romeo and Juliet.


Chalkboard Champion Fannie Richards: She Fought For Desegregated Schools in Detroit

imgresTo me, one of the most remarkable aspects about teachers is their willingness, ability, and dedication to bringing about positive social change. A wonderful example of this is Fannie Richards, a Michigan schoolteacher who worked to desegregate Detroit public schools.

Fannie Richards was born on October 1, 1840, in Fredericksberg, Virginia. Her parents were free African Americans. As a young child, Fannie’s family moved to Toronto, Canada, where Fannie was enrolled in school. When she grew up, Fannie traveled to Germany, where she worked with innovative educator Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel to develop the first kindergartens. When she completed this work, Fannie returned to the United States and settled in Detroit, Michigan.

Always eager to learn new skills, Fannie enrolled at the Teachers Training School in Detroit, and after her graduation, she became passionate about educating the African-American community of Detroit. Even decades before the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down in 1954, Fannie was advocating desegregation in Detroit schools. In 1863, while the Civil War was still raging, she opened a private school for African-American children in Detroit. A few years later, the Detroit Public School system opened a school for black children, and when Fannie learned the school board planned to open a second school, she applied for a teaching position. In 1869, she was hired to be a teacher in Colored School #2, the first African American teacher to work in Detroit Public Schools.

To Fannie’s delight, in 1871, the Michigan State Supreme Court ordered the integration of Michigan schools. That same year, the school board transferred Fannie to the newly desegregated Everett Elementary school, where she taught for 44 years. As a teacher, Fannie was known for her devotion to the children, using modern pedagogic methods, and maintaining a high standard of scholarship. 

Fannie Richards retired in 1922 after more than fifty years as an educator. This chalkboard champion passed away on February 13, 1922, at the age of 81. She is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit.