Teacher Spotlight – Mr. O


Courtesy of Mr. O

Tali Cooper

Mr. O is a super fun, inspiring, and energetic 7th grade science teacher here at Rio. He came at the beginning of the year when called by Mr. Ferry in the place of Mrs. Petrovich. He loves to teach and this is his 40th year teaching (even though he hasn’t taught science since 1984)! He is a great teacher and is super inspiring to all of his students!

Mr. O became a teacher because he actually wanted to be a coach, but he eventually realized that he likes teaching better than coaching. His favorite part of teaching is the relationships. He also loves kids being an inspiration to him. Mr. O actually retired from teaching when COVID hit, but came here after being called by Mr. Ferry. He says that COVID has really affected his teaching because it is so much harder with masks and doesn’t like all the technology (but he is getting better at it).

Some awesome facts about Mr. O are that he likes to sail, hike, and golf. But above all, he loves to surf. His favorite place to surf is Steamer’s Lane in Santa Cruz. He has also surfed in 21 different countries! One of his famous quotes is “I only care about three things: my wife, my kids, and my surfboards – not necessarily in that order.”

Since he came to this school, everyone has loved him! 7th grader Charlotte Brown says, “I think he’s great, he’s really inspiring, and he has a great way of teaching.” Another 7th grader, Doreen Yoon, says, “I love Mr. O! He is super cool and gives me high-fives whenever I want!” (#BEACHBUMFOREVERFANCLUB – Doreen). 7th grader Sahasra Ponnuswamy says, “I like Mr. O because he is super funny and he’s really sweet!” Lastly, 7th grader Keira McLaughlin says, “I like that Mr. O makes all of our class fun and he believes in all of us. He always encourages us and makes us happy. Every time I go to his class he makes my day.”

One of the things he is best known for is being very inspiring to others. One piece of motivational advice that he gives to students is, “Believe in yourself and know you have an extraordinary gift inside of you, you just need to find it.”