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7 Things about Fran Warmerdam

What inspired you to do this kind of work?

I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was a small child – but even more when I had a really inspirational and funny, sarcastic English teacher my sophomore year at Moreau High School. I started teaching three months after I graduated from college, just two days after I was hired. It was baptism by fire, to say the least! It was six weeks of queasy stomach – until one night at a football game, when someone asked me “Do you like teaching?” I realized with a shock that I loved it. I added counseling into the mix because I was a very young teacher – and lots of students were coming to me for advice about their lives. I didn’t want to mess them up, so I went back for my master’s degree and my Marriage Family Therapy license.

What is your position here and how long have you worked at O’Dowd?

I’m the Director of Counseling – and I counsel my group of students throughout their four years here. I started in 1985. In addition to being a counselor I taught German. We used to have an AP German class. I don’t feel as old as that sounds!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received (generally – it doesn’t have to be related to O’Dowd)?

I’m old, so I’ve gotten lots of advice … first from my mom, who never graduated from high school, “Go to college – you will always be able to take care of yourself then.” The next, which is just as important, “Enjoy where you are, who you are, how you look … NOW. Don’t waste time waiting for the future. Instead, live your life now.”

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Well, I get to laugh every day! And my job makes me be a better person. I’ve learned so much about other people, but mostly about myself. I’ve learned to be patient, to wait, to listen – all ways to make real connections to people. And my department is phenomenal! Those folks are rock stars!

What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?

I think that I’ve learned that I have to keep on growing … there is always something new to learn, even completely different ways of thinking about how to support students. My job is all about change, including my own.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?

Hmm, I was born in Australia and am adopted … no, it’s this – I have far too many pairs of shoes, and that won’t stop me from acquiring more!

If you could rescue only one thing from your burning office, what would it be?

The picture of me with my daughter, when I’m handing her her high school diploma! Oh, and my wedding picture!

Bonus questions:

What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?

So, I’m an old school rock fan and a new school rock fan. I like a lot of indie rock right now, and I really admire strong vocalists. Just yesterday my favorite band was the Black Keys.

What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?Okay, I’m a basketball fanatic, mainly because I went to Moreau and O’Dowd beat us all four years. My favorite team – the DRAGONS! I’m not kidding! Then the Dubs, and the Niners!


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