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Dr. Smilowitz no longer teaching at Bear River

Students listen to a substitute teacher in a class formerly taught by Dr. Sarah Smilowitz. Photo by Tosh Celenza

Psychology students lack leadership without teacher Dr. Sarah Smilowitz.

At the start of the new semester, Psychology and World History teacher Dr. Smilowitz said goodbye to Bear River High School, citing family reasons for her departure.

I did not foresee having to leave so suddenly,” she said. “I thought I would teach at Bear River High School for the next 20 years of my teaching career. I am extremely sad about having to leave. I hate that I did not get a chance to say goodbye to my students, the faculty and staff. If I could, I would return tomorrow.”

Bear River officials and students were disappointed to have lost this new addition to the staff.

It is always sad and challenging to lose a teacher, especially in the middle of the school year, but Bear River has a culture of overcoming challenges and moving forward in a positive way,” said Principal Amy Besler. “We will miss Dr. Smilowitz, who brought a great deal of knowledge, experience, and passion for teaching to Bear River.”

She was my Psychology teacher,” said Julia Bohn, a junior. “I enjoyed her class more than I ever thought I would! She taught her whole class that the key to succeeding in a class is to be passionate about what you’re learning, not just showing up for class and rushing out when the bell rings.”

Dr. Smilowitz said she vastly enjoyed her time at Bear River.

“I loved being a teacher at Bear River High School,” she said. “It felt like home. The students and staff were so welcoming and kind. I enjoyed going to the football and volleyball games. I also enjoyed coaching the JV boys soccer team.”

Junior Varsity Boys Soccer players expressed their disappointment with Smilowitz’s departure.

“When Smilowitz left, I was kind of disappointed,” said sophomore Evan Waters. “She was really good and I liked her offense.”

“It’s a little hard to get used to a new coach and his style of playing,” said sophomore Nicholas Tan. “But I think we will be doing really good this season.”

According to Principal Besler, Bear River has been able to find a sufficient temporary replacement for Smilowitz.

“We have hired an experienced, knowledgeable substitute teacher, Mr. Jeremy Kerr, who will help us navigate this transition smoothly,” she said. “Mr. Kerr’s background and degree are in Social Science and he is also very familiar with our campus, students, culture, and routines. The Social Science department will assist Mr. Kerr in implementing rigorous, engaging curriculum, including the assistance of Mr. Crossen with the Psychology material in particular. The position is being posted and we will engage in a thorough, thoughtful process to find an excellent replacement for Dr. Smilowitz.”

Dr. Smilowitz said she will miss the halls of Bear River High School.

“To my History and Psychology classes: I will miss you all, the jokes, laughs, stories, and learning the West Coast lingo,” Dr. Smilowitz said. “Each of my students inspired me in some way. Who knows… One day, in the near future, I may pop up on campus for a visit.”

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Dr. Smilowitz no longer teaching at Bear River