Longtime geology teacher says ‘this has just been the best job ever’

Katie Perrin

After 34 years, science teacher and Incident Commander Wendy Van Norden will retire to pursue her dreams to travel and explore the world at the end of this year.
“I think after all these years of teaching, I ought to see what else I can do,” Van Norden said.
Van Norden started out by teaching seventh, eighth and ninth grade biology at the Harvard School for Boys and tenth grade biology at Harvard-Westlake. Van Norden later taught courses in Geology, Geology Honors and AP Environmental Science.
Additionally, Van Norden has served as the Incident Commander for the school and organized the Crisis Management program in 2015, helping to develop the Crisis Manager App with attendance coordinator Gabriel Preciado.
“I always thought I would retire when I was fried but I’m not,” Van Norden said. “I love it. But since I like traveling and outdoorsy things so much, I can’t plan on being fit enough to do them in my 70’s, so I better do them in my 60’s.”
Van Norden first plans to go backpacking throughout the Sierras with a friend, then will lead friends on a hiking trip through the Cotswolds of England.
She then plans to meet up with her husband and family and will give lectures on cruises in the Baltics and the Panama Canal.
“This has just been the best job ever, and I will miss the bright and interesting students, the bright and interesting colleagues, lots of great conversations, and students who made me laugh,” Van Norden said.