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Miko Otoshi and David Clarke to retire
June 2, 2023
Otoshi leaves lasting impact on music
After working at Lynbrook for a decade, peer tutorial clerical assistant Miko Otoshi announced her retirement from Lynbrook during the Pops Concert on May 17, deciding that she wanted to spend more time with her family. A master of the band room and homework center, Otoshi continuously found ways to give back to the community.
“It’s nice to be in an environment where there’s a lot of youthful energy, and I feel productive helping teachers,” Otoshi said.
As a mother with three children who all attended Lynbrook, Otoshi found herself involved in the greater Lynbrook community starting with her joining Lynbrook PTSA. After working behind the scenes to attain grants for Lynbrook’s various programs and helping out as a parent volunteer through Lynbrook Instrumental Music Boosters, Otoshi joined the music department at Lynbrook as an administrative assistant for band teacher Michael Pakaluk.
“She’s very warm and earnest about her responsibilities, making sure everything is organized,” Pakaluk said. “She’s really amazing and stands out, dedicating her time, energy and resources, and it’s kind of rare to see that in parent volunteers.”
Her role in the music department included managing the instrument rental system, coordinating domestic and international tours and copying sheet music among other responsibilities. Students greatly appreciated the continuous effort she put in to provide a smooth and positive classroom experience.
From there, Otoshi dabbled with other ways to help students, eventually becoming a coordinator for the Student Tutors and Tutees Achieving Results program. She connected interested tutors with tutees, who then met during brunch, lunch or after school for supplemental instruction.
“Ms. Otoshi is dependable in everything she does for STTAR tutoring, homework center, and National Honors Society,” said senior and NHS internal vice president Vivian Zhao. “Without her, we wouldn’t have been so successful with maintaining and improving our school’s peer tutoring programs.”
Whether it was during her time as a parent volunteer or as a clerical staff member, Otoshi found seeing students progress over their high school journey extremely rewarding.
“It’s always nice to see students who got matched with a STTAR tutor become a tutor themselves in their junior or senior year and say that they enjoyed doing it,” Otoshi said.
As Otoshi retires, she hopes to spend more time with her family and pick up old hobbies like golfing and skiing. She also plans to continue being involved at school, by volunteering for the instrumental music department.
Clarke fosters engaging learning
After 23 years of teaching, with the past three having been at Lynbrook, English teacher David Clarke has decided to retire. His students hold lasting memories of his student-oriented teaching approach and will cherish their memories of his class for years to come.
“Mr. Clarke is probably one of the most intelligent teachers I’ve ever had,” Clarke’s teaching assistant Owen Yuan said. “He explains things in a way that makes it simple to understand, and you can talk to him about almost anything.”
Coming out of graduate school, Clarke spent most of his young adult life working various jobs ranging from hospitality to construction. Upon returning to Silicon Valley, Clarke worked in the technology sector for a decade. Still, he remained open to exploring other career options.
“It was a very interesting time to be in technology, but I wasn’t really invested in it,” Clarke said. “When the company I worked for went under, I said, ‘Let’s do something else.’ That’s when I got into teaching.”
As a teacher, Clarke wanted to emphasize the importance of fostering creativity and collaboration in his classes through discussion-based learning, as opposed to only having lectures, while also giving some of his own commentary.
“My feeling both as a parent and as a teacher is to provide kids with opportunities to learn from other people’s experiences to make their own decisions,” Clarke said. “It’s much more a matter of opening their eyes to how things work.”
Clarke has enjoyed seeing students grow and engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations with them, particularly from when he used to teach AP English Literature and Composition. He also cherishes his experiences teaching other literature classes and sheltered programs, as they gave him a deeper understanding of how students learn. Looking back, Clarke says that if there was one thing that he could tell his past self, he would have tried to explore more ventures in his career and life.
“Don’t be held back by the thought that because what you’re doing is comfortable, you ought to stick with it,” Clarke said. “Something that I would tell my younger self is, ‘When it’s time to jump, close your eyes and jump.’”
Jumping into a new stage of his life, Clarke plans to continue his regular summer activities including home and garden renovation projects. He also hopes to get back into construction, and is considering taking college classes on it.
While this summer marks the end of his time at Lynbrook, Clarke’s impact and legacy on the community resonate with teachers and students alike.
“Mr. Clarke brings so many different perspectives because of the different lives he’s led,” English teacher Terri Fill said. “He also possesses a lot of knowledge, and it will be difficult to replace the knowledge storehouse that is Mr. Clarke.”