Anzalone to retire in June

May 9, 2018 — by Krithi Sankar and Sophia Zivanic
Photo by Talisman

Kim Anzalone has taught Dance Fitness for the past couple of years; the class will not be offered next year after her retirement in June.

Finding comforting couches and a supply of beverages, such as coffee and almond milk, students from all different  groups and backgrounds all find a home in room 604: AP U.S. History (APUSH) teacher Kim Anzalone’s classroom. Near former students’ prom photos and senior portraits, a giant cardboard cutout of Elvis Presley smiles next to movie posters of “Gone With the Wind” and “Bourne Identity.”

Collected over Anzalone’s 35 years as a teacher in the Los Gatos-Saratoga High School district, these items contain memories of her nine years at Los Gatos and 26 at Saratoga. Anzalone has taught a range of subjects, from APUSH and History in Film to P.E. and Dance Fitness. She started History in Film about 18 years ago and Dance Fitness two years ago.

Anzalone received her teaching credential in 1981 from San Jose State University and started teaching at Los Gatos High the same year.

This year, though, she has decided to retire due to her mother-in-law’s recent death, which led to her husband’s retirement from teaching math at Ida Price Middle School as well.

“The passing of my mother-in-law made me realize that perhaps my husband and I need to do more together,” Anzalone said.

Her high-energy and enthusiastic teaching style made her one of the school’s most beloved educators.

For senior JR Im, who was a former APUSH student and teacher assistant for History in Film last semester, Anzalone’s room has been a perfect place on campus to de-stress during breaks.

“She has this happiness in her that she spreads when she says hello to everyone when we come in to her classroom during tutorial,” Im said.

In Dance Fitness, Anzalone can be seen teaching high-intensity dance moves to rows of students lined up and facing two paneled mirrors. Though she is 61, her remarkable youthness allows herself to lead 16- and 17-year-old students through choreographed moves as a fun way to get exercise.

Junior Mia Luu recalls her first encounter with Anzalone, when her P.E. class decided to join Anzalone’s dance fitness class for the day.

“When I saw her, she was like a ball of energy: very welcoming, and motivating me to dance,” Luu said.

After arriving at Saratoga High as a sophomore, Luu was nervous to be participating in a new type of P.E. class, since she had never experienced a combined P.E. and Dance Fitness class. Her nerves quickly faded as she was accepted into the friendly environment Anzalone had created.

Due to Anzalone’s retirement, the dance fitness class will not be continuing next year because no teachers have been found who are qualified to teach it.

Asked about the biggest changes she has seen during her time at the school, Anzalone pointed to the spread of the internet in the ‘90s, technology that has made students more connected and aware of global issues.

“I think this school has done amazing things for its students,” said Anzalone. “I feel that Saratoga has a reasonably strong faculty that makes a real effort in connecting with the kids.”

Anzalone is currently looking to apply for an online community college teaching job or an out of state teaching job to teach one class one history class online as she transitions to retirement.

Her plans for retirement also include completing projects around her house such as building furniture. She also plans to do a lot of traveling with her husband.

Anzalone said that though she doesn’t have a specific favorite memory from teaching here, what has meant the most to her are is the relationships she’s forged with the hundreds of students who have taken her classes.

“They have always been the absolute best part of teaching, and I will miss all of them terribly!” Anzalone said.

Current students and alumni said that they will also miss Anzalone and her contributions to her classes and the school.

“She brought vibrant energy to the classroom,” said 2016 alumnus Chester Leung, who had Anzalone for his APUSH class junior year. “Her teaching approach not only helped academic development but also interpersonal and professional growth.”

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