Born in San Francisco, Californiato to equine veterinarian Dr. and Mrs. J.H.Woolsey, an equine veterinarian, and his wife, Elizabeth Woolsey-Herbert therefore "grew up in the business," and learned to ride on ponies that her father acquired over the years for non-payment. That gave her the glue-legs that kept her relatively unharmed during her brief jumping career.
Elizabeth (Boo to her friends) was raised in Sebastopol, California, a small town north of San Francisco where she showed no talent for anything academic, but played softball fairly well. She graduated from Analy High School where she was taught English by a probably now deceased Mrs. Hastings who would be laughing herself sick if she wasn't dead to think that: of all her students over the years, this girl wrote a book!
Elizabeth went on to the University of Calif. Davis where again she showed no talent for writing or any academic pursuits. She is not remembered by any professors and one would have to search the records to show that she even attended, again except for a starring role on the Powder Puff football team “The Mother Goosers”. She was the quarterback. She graduated in 1974.
(photo by Shelley Herbert)
She then began to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, and possibly has the Guinness's world record in rejections of applications to veterinary schools. Eventually, and after a move to Alabama, and after starting a master's degree in Veterinary Physiology, she was accepted into the graduating class of 1984 at Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. To the shock and amazement of her friends and family she actually excelled in her studies and graduated with many honors and a high GPA.
She then pursued her career back in California. She first “practiced” to practice veterinary medicine in an “All Creatures” hospital in rural northern California. She decided small animals that bite and were deeply loved by their owners were not for her, and she quickly migrated back to Sonoma County and joined her “father's” (of course we know he wasn't really her father) practice which was horses only. She stayed in that practice until she started her own equine practice in the same area.
One day an Aussie walked in asking for work. She could see instantly he was trouble and refused to hire him until her staff, in love with the accent, threatened to quit unless he was hired. He was trouble and in a very short time Elizabeth married him and moved to Adelaide, South Australia in 1991.
She eventually had a daughter, Shelley, and started her own horse practice in the town of Gawler thirty miles north of the capital city, Adelaide. She combined raising the daughter and work but eventually she and her husband went their separate ways. Elizabeth continued to practice in a semi-rural area in the plains of Adelaide surrounded by snakes, brumbies (Australian wild horses) and the occasional kangaroo which has somewhat prepared her for being the mother of a pre-teen (if that is possible). Her practice is a mix of different types of horses, from pets to the occasional famous racehorse.
In a moment of madness she began to write some of the stories she forces her friends and staff to endure. If the truth be known, they actually encouraged her. To this day she continues to reside in Gawler, South Australia and writes and still “practices” to practice equine veterinary medicine and raise or be raised by her worldly and wiser eleven-year-old daughter. Who also knows she was switched at birth, as it is impossible to be as hip as she is, and have such a lame mother.
The Newest book that is in the works by Elizabeth is a collection of stories about inspiring teachers. Yes, she can think of topics other than horses! Elizabeth is passionate about this topic. Back in the 60’s she was inspired by two teachers, and when in secondary school, Elizabeth's daughter Shelley was also inspired by a local teacher. At the same time there were a couple of teachers who needed some inspiration.
In searching for a suitable book to give to the “less than” inspired teachers, Elizabeth found a void, and decided to fill it by collecting the stories herself. IIn searching for stories she noticed that Anita Trenwith form Salisbury High School had just won a $10,000 teaching award as SA’s best science teacher. Anita then introduced Elizabeth to the Special Ed team and principals of Salisbury high, and she also interviewed her former teachers in California who are still active in education today.
Introduction: & Excerpts
Inspiring Teacher Stories, the Why and the Wherefore
As a parent, when was the last time you ran down to the school to praise or thank a principal or teacher? I bet you have gone to the school to complain. That is the normal feedback teachers get. At the end of the school year you might send a note to school on the last day thanking the teacher, but for the most part, the feedback teachers receive is overwhelmingly negative.
Think about it. What do you remember about school? If you are like everyone I have asked, it wasn’t the flash new building or equipment. It wasn’t the most recently published books or the other amenities. You remember your classmates, teachers, hopefully a few moments of brilliance on your part, or perhaps a few moments of sheer anxiety and dissolution when you didn’t get asked to the dance, or get picked for the team, or faced an examination that you didn’t prepare for.
When I think back about my education, several moments stand out. In many cases these were not earth shaking events. I remember my first day of kindergarten, university and veterinary school. I don’t remember my last day of high school or even graduate school, but in between there were some events that would shape my life. Like you, I had good and bad teachers. Some of the better teachers during my educational experience would have rated as inspirational, but sadly in most cases, these teachers were stuck with a girl who had no ability or desire to be inspired. I was simply not ready for their expertise, patients and or wisdom. I think this is why you will find that many of these stories are during the teenagers to young adult period.
Last year my daughter had an inspiring teacher, Mr. Farmilo, who you will read about later. At the same time she had a couple of teachers who were less than inspiring. My natural inclination was to report them and file a complaint. I have never filed a complaint unless the complaint was accompanied by a suggestion for improvement. Thus my search for inspirational teacher stories began. After searching for days I asked my good friend and educator, Naomi Arnold, for some leads on books to offer to these less than inspiring teachers. “There are none,” was her reply. Hmmmm, maybe I could collect the stories and make a book myself.
Learning by Chocolate
By Nancy Scott
From the time I learned to read, I knew Peg Gorman was a teacher who knew a lot. She was, for one thing, the only adult in my life who could walk by and tell what someone was reading by looking upside-down at a Braille book. To this day, I still can’t read Braille upside-down. But, to this day, I’m grateful to read Braille the right way. As a freelance writer, I often read for audiences now, and my proficiency is, in large measure, due to this Irish lady with the very thick glasses. I remember those glasses. Mrs. Gorman often showed them to us. “See what I have to wear to read,” she’d say. And we would feel sorry for her and be happy to read Braille and not have to clip on magnifiers and put our noses down to the book. I never realized till adulthood how smart that ploy was.
Anita Trenwith, South Australian Science Teacher of the Year
By Jodie Moss
Anita Trenwith was my year eight teacher when I started high school in 1998. As far as teachers go I think Anita stood out because she always did something different and attention grabbing. I still remember wondering why she brought her dog to class, and then she told us we were studying animal behaviour. We then went on to practise training techniques using positive reinforcement and actually practised them on her dog. On another occasion she took us out on the oval to blow up a piece of sodium in a bucket of water that made all the classes come out and see what was going on just to show us how chemicals in the lab can be dangerous. Of course we still learnt the usual science lab skills and units that I guess everyone covers but Anita Trenwith was always interesting in the way she delivered the lesson and made us want to know more. She had a genuine interest in us as students too, and was interested in what was happening in our lives not just about our class results