To The Editor:

George Bernard Shaw said, “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’ ”

Good teachers teach students to observe things around them and say, “Why?” Great teachers teach students to dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”

At the end of this school year a great teacher, Janet Kleinheider, charts a new course as she steps out of the classroom after a long and fruitful career.

My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of working with Mrs. Kleinheider and her third-graders last year as classroom volunteers. It was clear from the first moment we walked into her classroom that there is a Zen-like quality to her being. She is a world-class maestro who conducted her class with precision and creativity.

Her very demeanor commands respect and not in an authoritarian way, either. She is a teacher, a woman who is clearly at peace with herself and comfortable in her skin. My wife and I could not help but notice her calming effect on the children. Janet is quick with a smile and has a phenomenal ability to focus on you like a laser beam. You could see it in the students, how she made them feel special individually. My daughter calls it the Kleinheider Standard, and it is the bar by which she now measures all other teachers.

So here is to you, Janet Kleinheider, for the mountain of papers you have graded, too numerous to count, and the lives that you have touched, one by one. I suspect you will never know the full impact you have had on your children. But you see, Janet Kleinheider, you have left them all a valuable gift, more valuable than you will ever know, the gift to dream and ask, “Why not?”