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Published May 26th, 2021
Del Rey Garden to be renamed in honor of retiring principal Kirsten Theurer
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After 14 years of devoted service to Del Rey Elementary School in Orinda, principal Kirsten Theurer is retiring and the Del Rey Parents Club will be honoring her by renaming the garden at the school, The Kirsten Theurer Garden. The parents' club brought its proposal to the Orinda Union School District board for approval, and received a unanimous vote of support.
Outgoing parents club president Alycia Shada and incoming president Vinita Anantavat presented the OUSD board with the proposal, which includes the installation of a five-foot bench in a corner of the garden and a new entrance sign, renaming the garden. Shada noted that during Theurer's tenure, the school had won both a blue ribbon award and a distinguished school award. Shada said that the parents club wished to honor Theurer in a long-lasting way. William Ayers spoke on behalf of a number of members of the parents club in calling the dedications a fitting parting gift.
Theurer is an avid gardener and a fervent supporter of the Del Rey garden and incorporating the garden into the children's educational experience, according to the proposal, which received overwhelming support from Del Rey teachers, staff and the parents club members.
The bench will bear a plaque that will say something very like, "`To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.' This Garden is dedicated to Kirsten Theurer, who nourished this garden and our students during her 14 years as Principal of Del Rey."
OUSD board president Liz Daoust commented that the new garden aid and the principal at Del Rey had done so much work to get everything fixed up. The garden is such a source of joy for her on the campus, Daoust said, making this a really a nice tribute.
Board member Carol Brown shared a fond memory from last year. "At that time," said Brown, "I put in our very first vegetable garden." Brown was on a video call with Theurer, who walked Brown through her garden, virtually. Brown said that she was very humbled, seeing the expanse of Theurer's garden. "She was very generous and gave me all these gardening tips. I'll be grateful to her for many years for that," Brown said, adding, "I feel great joy that you at Del Rey are going to honor Kirsten in this way."
In response to the action, Theurer told The Lamorinda Weekly, "The garden dedication is so very touching. I was fortunate to land at Del Rey all those years ago: 2007! This community has always come together to provide children with a second to none educational experience and I am proud to have been a part of it. I will forever cherish the children I have come to know and love, the staff that is like family, and the parents who have given so much to Del Rey. Retirement is bittersweet. I will miss everyone but will also enjoy time in my art studio, the garden, hiking, cooking, and time with my family."
The changes to the Del Rey garden will cost approximately $1,200 and will be funded from the parents' club teacher and staff appreciation fund. The changes to the garden should be effected shortly, perhaps in as little as one week.

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