Devoted Educators with a Passion for Serving
Our dad, Dr. Robert Cheatham (Bob), was a 3rd generation Californian born in Los Angeles. Our mom, Jane Anderson Cheatham was born in Lander, Wyoming, and moved to California when she was just two years old. After WWII, during which Bob served as the radio officer on a merchant ship, they met at UCSB in Santa Barbara. They married right after graduation. They both loved kids, and made it their life’s mission to enrich children’s lives through their dedication to teaching. Bob started his career as a shop teacher in the LA City Schools, eventually became Head of School for Berkeley Hall School, and subsequently went back into administration for the LA City Schools. Jane was a full time mother to us (Tracy, Scot, David, and Dana), and once we were all in school she taught music at Viewpoint School in Calabasas and later at North Hollywood High School. After her teaching career, she decided to sell advertising for the Christian Science Monitor.
Lives Guided by Quiet Listening
Outside of education, Dad’s passion was building. Having graduated from UCSB as an industrial arts major, he loved teaching electric and wood shop. Being knowledgeable in most all of the building trades, he began to build the family home in the Hollywood Hills. Incredibly, he drew the plans, did the framing, roofing, electrical, plumbing, cabinetry, pretty much everything without any outside help. For him, building was second nature.
Mom’s passion was music. She was an accomplished pianist and singer, and we woke up on Sundays listening to her practice her solos while getting ready for church. Christmas parties at our home were the event of the year. She invited musicians from the neighborhood and local orchestras to accompany the carol singing. Later in life, she enjoyed singing at various venues around Hollywood.
The path of their lives was guided by quiet listening. Often it was all about what they could actually do to help others even if the financial resources were not there. When money was available, invariably the focus was education and music. They absolutely loved Clairbourn where Dad served on the Board for 10 years. Clairbourn’s focus on character education was a perfect fit, and they supported both the Heritage Fund and the music program.
Clairbourn Teachers Touch Countless Lives
Clairbourn is in a unique position to actually deliver on the promise of a character education to its students. The five core values that make up its character definition (honesty, respect, responsibility, spirituality, citizenship) are fundamental to providing its students with a strong foundation from which to grow. It is no secret that providing a quality, individualized and well-rounded education is expensive, and tuition does not usually cover the real cost of this kind of education. Giving supports the school’s efforts to enrich students’ lives. Years from now, today’s students at Clairbourn will look back and remember the special moments when their teacher or staff made a difference. By supporting the school financially, you will guarantee those special moments well into the future.
PS. Bob passed away in 2016 after celebrating his 90th birthday. He was still on the Board of his local public elementary school, helping in any way he could. A few weeks after he passed away, I (Scot) received a call from one of his middle school students from the 1970s. Her school was located in a tough neighborhood in LA. When I told her that he had passed away, she burst into tears…..and I did the same. She recounted to me how he had saved her life by being such an amazing example, as an educator, mentor, father figure and friend. Throughout their careers, Clairbourn’s teachers will touch hundreds, if not thousands of lives. Helping them do that is priceless!