Former teacher killed in crash

A Labor Day accident has taken the life of well-known former Burroughs High School teacher Alan Stephens, 65. According to The Tribune News in San Luis Obispo, Stephens and another man were riding bicycles near Morro Bay on the shoulder of Highway 1 at 11:30 a.m. when they were hit from behind by a woman driving a Hyundai sedan.

Stephens taught at the Sierra Sands Unified School District for 31 years. His wife, Rita, head of the English Department at Burroughs High School, died seven years ago of a sudden illness.

According to Ernie Bell, assistant superintendent and head of human resources at SSUSD, Stephens was one of the most highly respected teachers in the district.

“He was a phenomenal man and an unbelievably great teacher,” said Bell. “He was enjoying life, doing what he loved to do. What a tragedy to hear he was killed by a drunk driver! It’s a very, very unfortunate incident.

“He was my teacher when I was a student at Burroughs. I was very fortunate to work with him 17 years there at the high school. We worked extremely well together. He was a coach, and everyone loved Alan and his wife, Rita.

“He was also known around other school districts for his knowledge and caring demeanor — a true professional. He taught advanced placement, economics and government, and his students scored extremely well on exams.

“Truly, so many people have so many fond memories of Alan and Rita — they had quite an impact both on the school community and the community in general.”

Further details will be reported as they become available.

Story First Published: 2013-09-04