First published in the Feb. 11 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
It seems that, in spirit, Janet Anderson is not going anywhere, even in retirement.
This spring, the South Pasadena Unified School District is considering the naming of Janet L. Anderson Auditorium at South Pasadena High School, where the venerated educator spent 21 as a principal before retiring last school year. The South Pasadena native and SPHS graduate started her career here and never left after 41 years.
The Board of Education revisited the discussion at its meeting this week.
“She was a fixture, so let’s make it a permanent fixture,” school board President Zahir Robb said this week. “It kind of feels like she is already.”
Following her retirement, the board had expressed interest in renaming a campus building in observance of Anderson’s stewardship. Superintendent Geoff Yantz said the decision was made after discussions involving teachers, students, administrators and other employees at SPHS. In those discussions, Yantz said the district uncovered a clear picture of what characteristics that defined Anderson’s tenure and personal interests, and those ultimately aligned with the school’s auditorium.
The school board seemed inclined to agree.
“I used to joke when I was at the high school that she lived there,” board member Ruby Kalra said. “Anywhere you went, any time of day or night, she was there, and it was often in that auditorium.”
As a student at SPHS, Anderson was her senior class vice president and sophomore class president. After returning to SPUSD as a substitute teacher, she began a career with the district that saw her in key roles at each of the five schools here, capping off with more than two decades helming SPHS.
Students at the school expect to recognize Anderson during an assembly ahead of spring break. Should the district move forward with a renaming, it expects that it would be formalized shortly after that.
“I think it’s just a wonderful way to honor Ms. Anderson’s many, many years of blood, sweat and tears, heart and soul, an entire life,” board member Michele Kipke said. “It’s actually a small gesture, but a wonderful way to honor her.”