Petaluma couple and their children have spent more than 100 collective years teaching
The Street family of Petaluma never intended to become a teaching dynasty in their community, but somehow the numbers added up.
With two math teachers, an economics teacher and a now-retired elementary school teacher working in the same town, the Streets have amassed more than 100 collective years in the classroom.
Parents Carol Ann and Wayne Street Sr. started the tradition, with their careers in local education spanning 39 and 41 years, respectively.
“I think we’re lucky to be there, and it’s fun to do it,” Carol Ann Street said of the family’s tenure.
“Mrs. Street,” as she’s known by her students at Petaluma Junior High School, is still explaining numerical equations and challenging her young mathematicians. Her husband retired in 2009 after his long career in the Old Adobe Union School District, mostly teaching first and second grades, with time also in administration.
Whether it was destiny or chance, three of the couple’s seven children followed in their parents’ footsteps. Wayne Street Jr., 39, is completing his 15th year at Petaluma High School, and Beth Street, 37, is in her ninth year teaching with Petaluma City Schools, currently at Kenilworth Junior High School, where she also coaches track and field.
The family’s newest teacher is Beth and Wayne Jr.’s brother, Mike Street, in his second year teaching math at a high school in Portland, Oregon.
Wayne Jr. teaches economics and Beth, like her mother, teaches math. Both women are department co-chairs at their respective junior high campuses, where friendly crosstown rivalries keep things spirited.
In Petaluma, the family has dedicated 104 years to education in the community, with more instruction to come.
While it may be tempting for the family matriarch and patriarch to share some time-honored tips from the classroom, both allow their offspring to find their own path, and offer advice only when asked.
“I don’t think I’ve ever stepped forward,” Carol Ann Street said.
Her husband’s tips are broad: “Be patient and have a sense of humor,” he said. “The more responsibility you give (students), the more chance they have of getting to succeed.”
Beth Street taught in American Canyon for five years, jumping at a chance to reduce her commute and return to her roots when a job opened in her hometown. Wayne Street Jr. never specifically sought out a job at his alma mater, but didn’t waste time when an opening became available.
The family loves having an impact on young lives, with Wayne Street Jr. sharing in students’ triumphs as the high school seniors get their college acceptances and plan their lives away from Petaluma.
“I treat them like the adults they want to be and think they are,” he said.
With so many Streets in education in Petaluma, there have been moments of confusion and amusement. Petaluma Junior High School feeds into Petaluma High School, where Wayne Street Jr. has taught some of his mother’s former students.
“The sharp ones work to put two and two together,” he quipped.
His sister has taught her father’s former students from Bernard Eldredge Elementary School who are promoted to Kenilworth Junior High School. Beth Street once reprimanded one of her eighth-grade students for his poor choices, calling upon her father — the boy’s elementary school teacher — for a few words with the boy.