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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Mr. Michael Kristan Retires After 52 Years in Westwood Community

Courtesy of Mr. Kristan
Smiling for his first photo in the yearbook, Mr. Kristan gets ready for his first year at Westwood. Mr Kristan served to be an influential and talented educator for more than 51 years.

While teaching at Westwood, Mr. Michael Kristan has brought many smiles and laughter to his English students. Working hard over the years to be what many agree to be a prominent and influential member of the Westwood community, Mr. Kristan has taught students in summer school, as well as in his classroom during the school year, for many years. After making his contribution to the teaching community, Mr. Kristan has made the decision to retire from his professional home of 52 years.

During the numerous years Mr. Kristan has worked at Westwood, he has experienced all of the big changes that have swept over the school, including layout, technology, and behavior changes. 

“I think [when it comes to] the kids, I’d say they fundamentally never change,” Mr Kristan said. “They just want to have a good day, have friends, and be successful.” 

Before Mr. Kristan started teaching at Westwood, he taught at Grisham alongside his son who was a student there. As his son graduated middle school, Mr. Kristan followed along and moved up to Westwood. While he was teaching in his first few years, he found something different about the kids and began to develop a big passion towards Westwood.

He is such a nice man. He is definitely one of the friendliest teachers I’ve known, and it is definitely sad to see him leave.

— Mr. Thomas Nielsen

“After working up north for 10 years, when I came to Westwood, I found out over the years, [by] teaching summer school and talking to other people, that there is a special quality about Westwood kids,” Mr. Kristan said. “It’s too difficult to describe but if you had to do it in a couple words, it would be that they are nice, they care, and they know how to achieve their goals.” 

When asked about the experience of being a teacher, Mr. Kristan expressed the need to have a lot of different strengths and tactics. 

“[I learned from students that] you can always find something good in another person. You [might] think that you know them and [that] there aren’t many things you can find [to like], but there is always something there,” Mr. Kristan said. 

Calling Westwood home for 52 years, Mr. Kristan has had hundreds of students, and has seen about 13 rounds of students cycle from freshmen all the way to seniors. In a way, Mr Kristan describes, it’s almost like he is graduating highschool for the 14th time — including his own highschool experience. 

“I have been working at Westwood for so long that I really feel like the years have just flown by without me even realizing,” Mr. Kristan said.   

Not only has he made impacts on students’ lives, but also teachers’ lives. Many other Westwood staff members that have shared years of experience with Mr. Kristan are going to miss seeing his smiles as he greets everyone. 

“He is such a nice man,” Mr. Thomas Nielsen says. “He is definitely one of the friendliest teachers I’ve known, [and] I have been working here for a long time with him. It is definitely sad to see him leave.”

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Sydney Fuller
Sydney Fuller, Reporter
Class of 2026 Hey! This is my first year working for student press and I’m so excited to see what this new year brings. I am very interested on hearing about other people’s opinions and I’m also interested in social issues. Outside of school, you can find me reading, dancing, watching scary movies, and drinking my 5th iced coffee of the day.

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