As a student, she ‘wanted to be just like’ her teacher. Now she works next door

When brand-new teacher Shauna Dauderman thinks back to Stacy Rudolph’s class, she remembers her former teacher as kind, smart and generous with her students.

“When I graduated high school, I thought I wanted to be a teacher,” Dauderman says. “And I wanted to be just like her.”

Now Dauderman works next door to Rudolph at Alta Sierra Intermediate School in Clovis. The two teach eighth-grade Academic Block, as well as Advancement Via Individual Determination classes.

Rudolph says she could not be more proud of her former student.

“It’s humbling, because I’ve been teaching for so long, and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, now my student is a coworker.’”

During a break Thursday morning, Dauderman ducked into Rudolph’s class to take a picture of the veteran teacher’s lesson plan from last year. But Dauderman is a resource for Rudolph, too:

“It’s like, ‘Can I use your microwave?’” Rudolph joked.

The two teachers both credit a background in AVID as one reason they became teachers. Rudolph says she remembers helping Dauderman with her first Honors English 10 essay and hopes that the first-year teacher will get to share her journey with her students.

“We really help and guide the kids on what classes to take, and how to take great notes, and how to be organized,” Rudolph says. “So when you get to college, you’re not afraid to go to study groups. You know how to study. Shauna is a perfect example of that.”

Dauderman graduated from Fresno State with a master’s degree in experimental psychology, but says she rediscovered a love for teaching while working as an AVID tutor at Alta Sierra. When an eighth-grade teaching position became available, she applied, not thinking that she would be hired.

Alta Sierra principal Steve Pagani says the school intentionally placed the former student and teacher next door to each other when a classroom adjacent to Rudolph’s became available.

And while it’s not unheard of for former Clovis Unified students to return to teach at their alma maters, seeing a student teach next door to her teacher is more rare, according to district spokeswoman Kelly Avants.

Dauderman says that the campus itself has mostly remained the same since she was a student, down to the lines in the cafeteria. The changes are mostly related to curriculum: her classes are learning about colonization and reading “The Outsiders,” but they start their day with an online quiz.

“I remember sitting in rows,” Dauderman says. “But now, there’s this really big emphasis on groups.”

Aleksandra Appleton, 559-341-3747