District Life Changer

June 2019 Life Changer: Linda Wareham

Linda Wareham has held to the same teaching mantra for 37 years at Hopkins Public Schools: “Change the world, one student at a time.”

Year after year, she would deliberately choose one student — the one that was hard to love — and help them through the year.

“Without fail, she was the one person who would always be in their corner, frame things that happened from their strengths, and help them through,” said Becky Melville, who is now principal at North Junior High, but used to team teach with Wareham at North.

Wareham now works in a different role, but she will never forget her 25 years with junior high students, who made her laugh every day. She currently serves as the coordinator of information systems at the District office, where she has helped launch and support an electronic communication system and two websites.

Even with all the hats she has worn and buildings she has worked in, she’s probably best known for her voice — the one you hear when you receive the morning phone call to let you know school has been canceled or delayed.

“The love I got for that small part of my job was fun,” Wareham said. “It included a seventh-grade student I’d never met before running across the room and hugging me because he recognized my voice. Oh, junior high kids — gotta love ‘em!” 

What was a proud moment you had while working with a student? I’m proud of the teaching we did in social studies, particularly civics. We were nonpartisan, teaching all sides so that students could make their own opinions on the issues we covered. One of my proudest moments was when a conservative state politician requested that his second son be in my class several years after I’d taught his first son. We certainly didn’t see eye-to-eye on most issues, but his request validated my teaching.

Crowning achievement? It’s funny, but the thing I’ll probably be remembered for is being “the voice” on that morning phone call cancelling school because of weather. 

What are your thoughts as you look back on 37 years at Hopkins? I was lucky to land in Hopkins back in 1981. I was lucky to have amazing principals and supervisors who encouraged me to stretch myself and offered me opportunities to grow as a professional. They changed my life so I could do the same for others.

Stats:  Bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College; master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota; certificate in teaching and technology from Hamline University. Wareham has also served in a number of roles within the District throughout her career including: teacher, coach, building athletic director, department chair, master scheduler, para, and attendance clerk.