TESTIMONIAL TO SOPHRONIA TOMARAS
by Bruce L. Arneklev, EdD
I first met Sophronia in the mid-1970s when she was a teacher with my kids at McCarver Magnet School in Tacoma. Shortly after that I shared some literature with her on linguistics. She went on to earn her PhD at the University of Washington, before coming to work with me as a colleague in early 1980s in the Office of Research and Evaluation for the Tacoma Public Schools.
She was one of those special people that would give a complement and one could not immediately determine whether it was completely true or that she was a stretching the significance of an event to make one feel good. In my case, she said that she never would have earned her PhD, if I had not sent her the literature on linguistics. I was left with the dilemma of graciously accepting the complement as more important than enforcing the actual extent of fact of the matter.
She was very astute in attending to detail. When she first came to the office, we had solicited comments on a first revision of the Student Learning Objectives tests for which she was to serve as editor Several hundred teachers had made comments and suggestions. She insisted on taking the time to write individualized responses to every teacher that had provided input. She had the last word in what was the correct way for constructing curriculum as well as test items.
She retired about eighteen years ago and the District continued to use the tests she edited District wide for about eight years after her retirement. Since that time the internet has come into global use and she has been one of my contacts for forwarding special items of humor, religious and / or political significance. She has been the only one in my address book that has made a response to every item that I choose to forward to her. Now when I come to that name in my address book, I pause with a moment of reverence.
Her last written response to an item I choose to forward was:
"Another good one. I have lung cancer, so please pray for me. HE IS RISEN."
I believe that because of her faith: SHE IS RISEN INDEED.