The way Candace Jordan sees it – and anybody that really knows her, for that matter – she was destined to be a teacher.
Three aunts graduated with teaching degrees from Eastern Washington University back in the World War II era when it was known as Cheney Normal School.
“In those days women didn’t work, and they didn’t have college degrees,” Jordan said. “They were kind of pioneers in our family. That had the biggest impact on me, growing up with aunts as teachers and role models.”
So, Jordan knew what she wanted to do when she headed off to college. And she’s never regretted her decision.
Jordan started in the West Valley School District as a second grader – and concludes a 32-year teaching career in the only school district she has attended or worked.
Before starting her teaching career, though, Jordan had three children. Once they were in school she launched her career.
She spent the first 28 years at Centennial Middle School. The last four were at Spokane Valley High School.
“When she got here she never missed a step,” SVHS principal Larry Bush said. “She’s one of the most amazing ladies I ever met as a teacher and as a mom. Everything she does she does to perfection.”
Bush had a bird’s-eye view of Jordan’s work.
“She’s one of those that I call a kid magnet,” Bush said. “She’s left her footprints everywhere. I told her one time ‘you are genetically wired – you were born to be a teacher.’ The kids love her, the staff loves her, and the parents love her.”
The legacy she followed continues through two daughters, Sasha Deyarmin and Kara Sharpe. Deyarmin is the principal at Ponderosa Elementary and Sharpe teaches at University High School.
An infectious smile breaks across Jordan’s face when she talks about her daughters following her into education.
“I hope I influenced them to get into education,” Jordan said.
Jordan also has inspired several others to get into education, with a handful of former students choosing to be teachers.
One in particular is Ashley Bell, a fifth-grade teacher at Ness Elementary.
“My girls call her my other daughter,” Jordan said. “Ashley still comes to me for advice. That gives me a lot of joy. She’s become a great friend.”
Asked about what her greatest feat has been, Jordan didn’t hesitate.
“Over and over again I’ve been able to inspire kids to find their talent, the talent they don’t know that they have,” Jordan said. “I feel good at being able to spot talents that might go untapped, and to help kids find their passions.”
SVHS staff and students had a farewell assembly last week for Jordan.
Jordan has co-taught the four years at SVHS with Joni Chambers.
“She is sorely going to be missed. She is amazing,” Chambers said.
Eric Jurasin has been a colleague and served as interim principal since April when Bush had to take a leave for health reasons.
He said Jordan’s impact is immeasurable.
“We will miss having a highly experienced educator who is full of passion and energy,” Jurasin said. “She is a model for the rest of us to learn how to live our career to the fullest.”
Jordan said she and her husband, retired Spokesman-Review sports editor Jeff Jordan, plan to do some traveling in retirement. They will celebrate 45 years of marriage in August.
She said it was time to leave. She came in with the freshman class four years ago and 28 graduated last week. The way she sees it, she’s graduating with them.
“I’ll miss the relationships, hands down, with the kids, teachers and parents,” Jordan said. “I’ll miss the creativity and miss being able to be creative and having those aha moments when you figure it out collaborating with others.”
Jordan retires the way she started her career – energized.
“Like everyone else you question whether you picked the right career at times,” she said. “For me there’s no doubt I picked the right career. I’m ready to pursue other passions and spend time with my grandkids. My teaching career isn’t going to end. I’m going to continue it with my grandkids.”
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