Have you ever had an exceptional teacher? The kind of teacher that makes this quote ring true:

To the Editor:

Have you ever had an exceptional teacher? The kind of teacher that makes this quote ring true:

"A teacher affects eternity. He can never tell where his influence stops."

Over a decade ago, when my name hung over Room B-3, an exceptional teacher worked next door. I heard his infectious laugh drifting down the hallway as he taught students to love science and math. I saw his genuine smile as he played soccer with students at recess. I recall his passion for his students' success. I remember his belief that teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin.

One day, he came to me and said, "I am going to be a principal." We started graduate school together that year. The exceptional teacher turned into a brilliant graduate student, a master of applying leadership and education theory to the role of the practitioner.

Our paths diverged early in graduate school. He had the opportunity to transfer to a school that needed talented and charismatic teachers who wanted to change lives. Some years later, when I took my first assistant principal role, it was -- at least in part -- an effort to measure up to his decision to leave our suburban school and charge headlong into a difficult school that needed amazing teachers.

He became an assistant principal, then a principal, never making the easy choice to enter a comfortable leadership role, always going where the students needed an exceptional teacher and a terrific principal.

That teacher -- and your new principal -- is my friend, Peter Stern. I am excited for you, Johnnycake Corners Elementary School. I am sad to see my friend leave, but I know that he'll be happy back home in Ohio with his wonderful wife and family. Peter Stern is exceptional -- as a teacher, as a principal and as a friend.

Adam Hastings

Charlottesville, Virginia