The first story Bernie Glaze ever told me was about Kevin and Duc, two basketball-crazed teens who felt her Theory of Knowledge class at Mount Vernon High School was not their thing. All that talk of Kant and Aristotle and other dead guys with no jump shot made their brains hurt, they told her.
But one day she heard them talking about an NBA playoff game. They were interpreting, predicting, differentiating and synthesizing. Ha! She had them. “Listen to yourselves,” she said. “Your brains know what to do. Just treat Plato as though he were Michael Jordan.”
Bernie died Nov. 20 of complications from lung cancer. She was 62. Some people might remember her as the talkative woman who unaccountably left the faculty of the celebrated Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, with its 7 percent annual bonus for all teachers, to help start an International Baccalaureate program at Mount Vernon High in Fairfax County, then considered one of the worst schools in Northern Virginia. I remember her as the dynamo who helped turn Fairfax, known for gifted education and science prodigies, into a national model for teachers, like her, who preferred to spend their days looking for the hidden potential in C students.