When he’s not teaching earth science, directing the Mentor Induction Program, or providing academic support as a special education teacher at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, you can find Jeff Caruthers water skiing, baking treats, or playing fetch with his 3 dogs — things he will have more time for now that he’ll be retiring after 23 years at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS).
Mr Caruthers, who began working at MVRHS in 1998, has invested a lot of his energy into improving the school’s special education program.
“[My colleagues and I] have been working really hard in special-ed to develop a scope and sequence of curriculum for ninth graders that come into our program, and transition them into tenth, eleventh, twelfth grades…and then, if they’re still in the program, beyond high school,” he said.
When asked what he’ll miss most about teaching, Mr. Caruther’s answer came naturally: “Two things: the kids are pretty spectacular, and my colleagues are great.”
Still, there are some aspects of his time at MVRHS that he won’t miss as much. “I had the great task of cleaning any graffiti off of the bathroom walls. I didn’t really enjoy that!” he said with a laugh.
In 1994, Mr. Caruthers moved to the Island from Florida and started working at the Oak Bluffs and Tisbury Elementary schools as a special education teacher. He said he loves working on the Island because of the long-lasting relationships he creates with his students, and in some cases, students-turned-colleagues.
“Early in [my] position, I was assigned to a girl with special needs who is now one of our history teachers here,” he said. “So I knew her when she was in fourth grade and she’s been a colleague of mine for many, many years here at the high school, and I think that’s really cool.”
Just as Mr. Caruthers cares for his students, his students care back. “[Mr. Caruthers] always wants to help those in need, and he always wants to be there for the students,” said Junior Margaret Sykes, who has been one of his students since her freshman year.
Although Mr. Caruthers is retiring, this is not the last we will see of him. “I’m still working in the system, and I’m in charge of the induction mentor program for the district. I’ll be meeting with new teachers, meeting with mentors throughout the year, and I’ll still be in and out of the high school.”