RICK’S CORNER 2/17/17
Last week I was privileged to be invited to an exclusive dinner put together by Brendan O’Neil to celebrate the life of Dr. Spiva. Brendan chose the very appropriate setting of Debbie Wong. This was Dr. Spiva’s favorite restaurant when he first founded Valley View in 1970. He enjoyed bringing students to Debbie Wong and even wrote their theme “For food and drink you can’t go wrong, the very best at Debbie Wong”. We were afforded a private room at the restaurant and Brendan had an impressive variety of food prepared for the guests. The guest list included many of the “founding fathers” of Valley View, many of whom dedicated their entire professional career to the school. Other guests included current and former employees with impressive tenure. The evening was one of seeing old friends, sharing stories, sharing experiences and reflecting on our collective memories of Dr. Spiva and Valley View. The owner of the restaurant (who was just a 19 year old cook working under his uncle when Debbie Wong first opened) came in and said some very kind, reflective words about Dr. Spiva and his positive experience with our school and the students Dr. Spiva would bring to the restaurant. There is a very rich history at Valley View and that could not have been more evident that night. After spending that time with everyone that evening, I left feeling proud to be part of the history and inspired to be part of the future of Valley View.
Here is a picture of what I would call the “VVS Mount Rushmore”
Left to Right: Wally Connor, Jim Newland, Wally Hall, Scott Longvall, Dick Wynn and Phil Bland
Inspiration moving forward was further accentuated this week by the announcement that Dr. Tom Nowak will be the Director of Valley View School. I’ve known Dr. Nowak for nearly 20 years and had the good fortune of working closely with him for the last 7 years. I’ve seen the incredible work Dr. Nowak has done with our students in his role as a clinical psychologist doing individual therapy. My personal experience with Dr. Nowak has shown that he is highly educated yet down to earth, knows our population of students very well, he is an excellent communicator, he is reliable and accessible, with a great sense of humor. I could not be in more support of a decision than I am with Dr. Nowak leading us as Director into the school’s future. I know these same positive sentiments are true with anyone that has worked with Dr. Nowak at Valley View. I am pleased that all of the students, parents and consultant community will soon be able to experience all of his positive attributes.
– Rick May