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Guestbook for Dr. Phil Hatlen

Please post in this guestbook to share memories, express gratitude or simply say farewell to a wonderful man. 

For the security of our site and out of respect for Dr. Hatlen, all comments are moderated. This may create a brief delay in your post being visible online. Thank you for your patience!

Elizabeth Eagan: A Great Man
I knew Doctor Phil while he was superintendent by sight only. Didn't know he knew who I was until he retired and moved to Washington. I moved up there shortly after and we became friends. We had one thing in common at first...our passion for the ECC. I loved to listen to his stories as we met for dinner or a late lunch. And when he decided to get a camera and develop a new hobby, I was honored to share what little I knew with him. The one thing about him I shall always remember is how humble he was. He's done so much in his life, but there was no bragging. His career was his passion. I miss our conversations and that smile of his. God speed, Dr. Phil!

Saturday, 16 January 2016
Rmichael Clinkscales: 23 years ago

I started working at TSBVI 23 years ago, fresh out of grad school and only 2 previous years of special Ed experience. The first time I met Dr. Hatlen he was wearing brown Birkenstock clogs just like mine. I knew I was home. What a great man and a great leader in our field.

Saturday, 16 January 2016
Linda Hagood: Goodbye to a strong leader
I didn't know Dr. Hatlen well, but have always been grateful that he supported my curriculum writing and pushed me to finish it...even if it wasn't "perfect." I always remember the day when I was behind on a deadline I'd agreed to, and he called me into his office to inquire about whether I intended to "meet my commitment" to finish my curriculum. It was a gentle nudge, but one I really needed at the time. He seemed to know just how hard to push to move me into a productive mode. Later, when we were both living in Washington, he initiated contact with me and we met for lunch. At that meeting, he helped me understand the jistory of the field of visual impairment, and the need to keep asking questions about this fascinating group of students. Yesterday, I spoke about the curriculum he supported, and felt his spirit and questioning eyes in the room with us. Thank you for helping all of us to keep asking questions, and questioning our answers, Dr. Hatlen

Saturday, 16 January 2016
Kristi Sprinkle: Dr. Hatlen
As a total outsider to the world of visual impairment, but certainly not to the world of education (my father was a leader in this realm), my introduction to Dr. Hatlen was a bit unusual – that of his encourager and editor-writer-organizer for his professional autobiography. His personal stories about being the ‘flunky driver in Vienna’ for the great Berthold Lowenfeld (who became a great friend) at a conference one year, being left behind because of allergies on the farm as a child, giving up the Alaskan fishing industry for teaching and flunking out of O&M before taking on the world of visual impairment were all stories some of you may not have heard. I recall vividly the passion in the man’s voice and when he spoke of the modern day heroes – the teachers and the professionals he considered peers. And yet he never failed to say how much awe he had for all of you who continued the work of the ECC and had your own passion for the field of visual impairment. What better way to honor the man than to continue that passion!

Saturday, 16 January 2016
Kate Hurst: Berkinstocks
I have so many wonderful memories of Phil, as do most of us who knew him at TSBVI. But when I think of him I go back to his first "welcome" speech at the start of the school year. I was somewhat apprehensive about him becoming our new Superintendent because he was this "famous" man from California. But as he spoke, my fears dissipated the moment he said that he was willing to sacrifice his usual footwear of Birkenstocks for "traditional" shoes so that he could be the Superintendent at the school. Over the years I came to deeply respect his knowledge and wisdom and always enjoyed the opportunity to talk shop with him. He left the world a better place than he found it. He will be missed.

Friday, 15 January 2016
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