Yesterday the entire educational community was saddened to learn of yet another school shooting. This one occurred when a twelve-year-old junior high school student opened fire on his classmates on a playground at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada. As a result of the shooting, our profession lost a highly respected and beloved chalkboard champion, math teacher Michael Landsberry. The teacher was shot in the chest at point blank range while attempting to persuade the student to lay down his weapon. He had stepped between the shooter and a student at which the gunman was taking aim. Two other students were hit before the shooter turned the gun on himself. Because the teacher distracted the gunman enabling many students on the playground to flee to safety, he is credited with saving as many as thirty students’ lives.
Michael Landsberry earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Nevada State University, Reno, in 2001. The forty-five-year-old had been a member of the Nevada Air National Guard and a former corporal in the Marines who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He leaves behind a wife and two stepdaughters.