Senate District 6 Unsung Hero
Hervey A. Taylor III
Retired Elementary School Teacher and Principal
Q & A with Hervey A. Taylor
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Michigan. When I was a young boy I took a trip with my family by train to California. At that time I made it a goal to live in California someday. I love living in the Sacramento area. I recently retired as principal of H. Allen Hight Elementary School in the Natomas Unified School District. It has truly been a blessing to me and my family to be involved in the Natomas community. It is such a diverse area. I have been married to my beautiful and intelligent wife, Inez for 37 years. We have four children, two boys and two girls. We have one grandchild. She is almost two years old and I am preparing her to be a good student in school.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Having been selected as teacher of the year in two different school districts, once by the students and once by the staff, is an important personal accomplishment. However I am most proud of the thousands of students that I have positively influenced. Many times students come up to me to ask if I remember them. They often talk about things they learned in class many years ago. I find that remarkable. I have seen my former students graduating from colleges, working in great places, and making significant contributions to society.
What inspires your community efforts? Why is education important to you?
When I worked in state government, I used to take annual leave and vacation days to check on how my own children were doing in school and how the teachers were engaging them in learning. I started visiting their classrooms and eventually started to substitute teach in my children's school district and in their class. I felt so passionate about teaching and student learning that I decided to become a teacher. Once I became a teacher I made it a goal to be the best teacher I could be. After teaching for a number of years I saw students and their families move from one school to another one in the middle of the school year. That's why I taught each day as if it was the last day I would see my students.
You recently retired; how are you continuing to make a positive impact in the community?
I mentor and coach teachers and aspiring administrators, I also periodically teach about leadership at my local church. I believe a good educator must be a good learner as well. I consider myself a lifetime student. I am currently enrolled in a doctoral program in education and organizational leadership. I have worked to inspire, motivate, and encourage students at the elementary and secondary level. Now I want to help students in higher education at both the community college level and the university level. I will continue to be an advocate for students and also an advisor to parents as they navigate through the educational system.
What have you struggled with most?
As an educator, it has been difficult to meet all of the needs of every student. I have worked with students who were homeless, in the foster care system, victims of abuse, suffering from depression, negatively impacted by divorce, exposed to domestic violence, and many other difficulties. Often students have excessive absences or tardies and are unprepared for school. I know that as an educator, I still have to do everything I can to promote student learning and prepare them for life in society. I started visiting students and their parents at their homes and at community events to show support and to promote positive interactions with the family.
If there is one problem in our community that you wish you could fix, what would it be?
I would like to see the student truancy problem in schools reduced or eliminated. A number of students have excessive absences and/or excessive tardies during the school year. There are typically 180 instructional days each school year and over 200 instructional minutes in each day at school. So anytime a student is late or does not come to school, that student misses the required lesson and may not be able to make up for the missed learning opportunities. I want to see extended learning time for all students and those students who miss academic time should be allowed and even required to make that time up.
Growing up, who did you consider a hero?
Both of my parents were strong influences in my life. My mother was a beautiful person with a sweet personality. I consider my father to be a great role model and hero to me. He set a high standard for me to follow. He was an innovative and hard-working pioneer in many areas. He showed me what was possible in life. I have to say that my extended family also influenced me. This includes my grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and members of the church. They served as good role models for me.