After 32 years with the Live Oak School District, Roger Christianson has retired as the Ag Instructor.
For 32 years Roger Christianson has been an icon at Live Oak High School, in particular the Agriculture Department. Students have learned everything from raising animals to torching metal. Live Oak's FFA is a success because of Christianson and his love for kids. Christianson feels like it is the right time to retire. He is excited to see what else life has to offer because teaching school has been his world for so many years. He and his wife Nancy will no doubt find some time to travel but Roger is looking forward to spending more time with their seven-year-old grandson William, especially with soccer and t-ball games. “I'd like to thank the Live Oak community and the administration of the school for the continuous support the past 32 years. If I had it all to do over again I would do it again here,” he stated. Christianson is grateful that he never had to ask for anything. He stated he didn't need anything because teachers had what they needed when it came to instruction. Of course teaching in one school for that many years, Christianson found himself teaching the children of his former students and could tell the kids that he knows their parent if things got a little hectic in the classroom. One of his past students, Stefanie (Boles) Allen, a teacher in Yuba City, is taking over the Ag Department from her former teacher. Christianson has seen many changes over the years such as going from mimeograph machines to computers. Technology has flown by for Live Oak High as Christianson remembers when the school had Apple IIE's. “Things have excelled over the years,” he said. Wife Nancy has been very understanding over the years as Roger would take off for conferences, fairs and different FFA activities on the weekends. Retired Live Oak High Teacher Joe Viscuso said his good friend is honest, upfront and very helpful. Viscuso taught a wildlife class besides woodworking and drafting and the two teachers would often take the students on trips such as deep sea fishing or hiking. “Anytime anyone asked Roger for help he would very seldom say no. It was always a yes. He was always faithful, not only to teachers but he was a good counselor to the kids who had a problem and asked for advice,” he said. Feeling like he owes his wife 32 years of “honey-do's,” Christianson will probably be kept busy at home for awhile. Of course the hardest part about retiring will be leaving the students behind. Having made many friends over the years it will certainly be different to take life slower and treat each day as a Saturday. Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Christianson joined the Navy and landed in California where he met Nancy in Torrance when the two were in junior college. He transferred to Fresno State with a major in Animal Science. He decided he liked Ag Education while student teaching. He had a temporary job in Salinas one year before Live Oak hired him. “It's been wonderful. It has been a great place to work. The staff works very well together,” he said. While at Live Oak High Christianson was on the negotiations team for many years. Of course the beautiful new campus with new classrooms, gymnasium and cafeteria improved the environment over the years with everyone having an appreciation for the bond that passed to make it all a reality. When he announced his retirement of course the kids weren't ready to let him go. One student stated he was the last of his family at the high school and asked if he could stay just one more year. Best of luck!