Jackie Moser — Cultivated in Alisal
Jacqueline Lucille Moser
Reading Intervention Teacher, Bardin Elementary
Jacqueline Lucille Moser never expected accolades or awards, feeling compensated enough when she saw a spark of recognition in the faces of her students as they learned to decode mysteries hidden in letters.
Mrs. Moser was recognized nonetheless on Friday, May 10, when administrators at Bardin Elementary unveiled a plaque placed in her honor in the school’s library. The event was covered by KSBW and The Californian.
“From the moment Jackie Moser stepped on Bardin’s campus in the first grade, she knew this school would be home to her life’s purpose as an educator,” Bardin Principal Martín Gutiérrez Jr. said Friday during the ceremony, reading from the commemorative plaque. “She dedicated her life to Bardin, helping children become literate, advising colleagues and donating resources and books.”
Mrs. Moser was born on April 22, 1944 in Salinas, the daughter of Bob and Florence Meders. The family lived off Toro Avenue, around the corner from Bardin Elementary, and a young Jackie attended the school early on.
“The school wasn’t ready. It was almost ready but not quite,” said Ms. Alicia Fletcher, remembering a story Mrs. Moser told her years ago. “But across the street the district had set up tents for the kids, and that’s where she actually started in kindergarten as a little girl. She moved into a new school, and when we were in the process of tearing down the school she told me that story.”
Mrs. Moser attended Bardin Elementary for about 3.5 years, and graduated from North Salinas High School. After earning an associates degree from Hartnell College, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego. She began teaching at Bardin in 1966.
Miss Jackie (Meders) Moser during her first year at Bardin Elementary
“She knew she wanted to come back and teach at that school when she went to San Diego,” said Laura Sánchez, who taught at Bardin for 28 years. “Her dream was to come back and teach first grade, but she got a (third) grade classroom, so she bade her time until a first grade opening came. She never wanted to do anything else but to teach little children how to read.”
Mrs. Moser became an early enthusiast of Reading Recovery, a reading intervention program designed for students ages 5 or 6 who are struggling to learn how to read. The method was developed in the 70s by Marie Clay, a New Zealand educator, and Ms. Moser continued to use it with students throughout her entire life.
“It’s a very systematic program that came from New Zealand,” Sánchez said. “That’s how we ended up becoming good friends — going to trainings and being colleagues we became very close. You had to partner so half time was spent in the classroom, half time doing tutorial. We shared responsibilities in the same classroom. We loved that program, we got passionately involved with teaching children how to read.”
Not surprisingly, Mrs. Moser became an expert at teaching young students.
“She was masterful at teaching reading,” said Dr. Esteban Hernández, former principal at Bardin. “She dedicated more than half of her teaching career to Reading Recovery, to help kids who had not broken code as readers to figure out what they needed to become readers.”
When Bardin Elementary was ready for a construction overhaul in 2006, Mrs. Moser also was ready for a huge change in life. She had started her early education when the school was built, and she would end her teaching career when the old school was torn down.
“It was a beautiful way to start kinder and close it as a teacher,” Ms. Fletcher said.
But Mrs. Moser was not ready to leave the profession entirely. She did not want to lose her Reading Recovery certification, so she remained active in Bardin as a volunteer reading mentor for 13 years.
“Even if she just volunteered a few hours a week she would maintain her reading recovery certification,” Hernández said.
Mrs. Moser is remembered as the consummate professional, an educator who had high expectations of her students, her colleagues and herself, always courteous and passionate about her work.
“I was gifted by having her as my model teacher,” Sánchez said. “To me, she represents a bygone era of what a professional should be like.”
She loved baseball, Scott Moser said. “She never missed even one of her grandchild's games.” Mrs. Moser also attended graduation and football games of former students, he said. “She had a bond with a lot of students.”
Teaching children how to read was not the only way Mrs. Moser helped children. She also donated thousands of books and money to the library. Her son Scott Moser remembers meeting her mom late in the day and helping her take down classroom decorations.
“Just to see her walk down the hallway and see the respect of all her colleagues, administrators, it’s huge. Her legacy is huge in this area, not just in this school. She’s taught with a lot of teachers, she was well respected and it’s a true honor to see her being honored. I know she’s looking down on us smiling, saying ‘I don’t deserve this.’ But she does.”
Mrs. Moser passed away Jan. 6, 2019. At the time of her death she was still a volunteer at Bardin and her grandson’s school, Monterey Park Elementary.
For more pictures of Ms. Moser plaque unveiling ceremony, click here.