English department grieves another loss

Sandra Rayl, English teacher, passed away from her battle with brain cancer on Jan. 12. Her experience teaching at the school has left a lasting impact on many of her students and colleagues.

Christine Hodson, English teacher, first met Rayl when she transferred to NPHS in the fall of 2005. “We collaborated when we taught English 10 Honors together and we became closer colleagues and friends over time. I think there was a real connection for us with motherhood that our kids were very close in age and our passion for teaching English,” Hodson said.

Along with teaching, Rayl was a part-time writer and used her passion for English to influence other students and bring out their individuality.

“She could always recognize the individual in each student and recognize their capacity for growth. That is what our mission is as teachers, is to be able to nurture that growth and help people discover in themselves (and) what they have the power to do with the rest of their lives. I saw her really encounter each and every one of her students in that fashion,” Hodson said.

Rayl also taught Moorpark Community College where students who did not get to have her in high school were able to have experience her teaching in college. Battling brain cancer throughout her teaching career, she still was determined to teach at two schools through her love for English, while appreciating each student’s own potential.

“For me, I will always think the hallmark of her teaching career was nurturing thinkers and writers.” Hodson said. “I am really honored that she was my friend. I learned from her incredible generosity and (an) amazing sense of sisterhood, what it is to not be judged and not judge other people, and I find myself now, having just lost her on Friday, that virtually everything I do, I’m thinking ‘what would Sandra do’ and finding myself wanting to celebrate her spirit.”


Her memorial service will be held on Feb. 3 in San Marcos at Grace Episcopal Church.

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