Geosystems teacher Douglas Cullen passes away


Photo by A. Howe

A poster, located in front of room 250, is available for students, faculty and staff to leave notes of remembrance for Douglas Cullen.

Alexander Howe, News Editor

Geosystems teacher Douglas Cullen passed away on the night of Sept. 3rd after a brief illness.

Cullen was a dedicated teacher and member of the community. During his 12 years at Jefferson, he coached the football team and sponsored such activities as the National Honor Society, Rocketry Club and Guitar Club.

“Mr. Cullen really helped our club succeed and get to national finals two years in a row,” class of 2017 alumna and Rocketry member Diana Zavela said. “He was always willing to go the extra mile – staying after school for hours, coming to every launch, and answering questions.”

Some students also remember Cullen for his classroom instruction as the head of the Geosystems department.

“He was really the epitome of what a teacher and mentor should be,” class of 2017 alumnus and former Rocketry captain Jasper Barnett said. “He explained without judging us for what we didn’t know, and cared deeply for the success of everyone in his classes and the clubs he sponsored. He was the kind of teacher who would stay for multiple hours after school to help you figure something out.”

Geosystems teacher Shawn Stickler worked with Cullen for six years, and remembers his contributions to the Geosystems team.

““He was the best geo teacher here,” Stickler said. “He got along with students well. He understood all the material; he actually developed a large amount of the material. Dr. Woodwell did a lot on revising things and all that, but Mr. Cullen is the one who made the labs, and made them work. He understood the computer programs better than anyone else on our team. He was really the backbone of the Geosystems team.”

Cullen’s coaching experience made him well versed in Jefferson’s tactics, even as a member of the stands.

“He coached the football team, but then he wasn’t a coach anymore, so I would go to games with him, and we’d sit together,” Stickler said. “And I know football and understand football and everything, and it was amazing how well he’d say ‘Alright, we’re going to do this and this because of this.’”

Students and teachers will miss Cullen for his deep knowledge of Geosystems and the care he took in teaching his students.

“If I could say one thing to him it would be, ‘Thank you for being so understanding. It helped,’” class of 2017 alumna Max Pabilonia said.

Please reach out to the counselors, Geosystems teachers or Assistant Principal Gary Grosicki if you need someone to speak to in the wake of this event. You can also sign a remembrance poster located outside of room 250.

There will be a rememberance service at Jefferson on Wednesday, September 13, at 4:30 pm. Details can be found here.

This post will be updated as further information is acquired.