Teacher retires after a 24-year career at South

Teacher DeEtte Reynolds pioneered the AP Psychology program at Grosse Pointe South during her career


Photo credit: DeEtte Reynolds, retired teacher

Elena Rauch '18, Supervising page editor

DeEtte Reynolds taught at Grosse Pointe South for 24 years. A few weeks ago, she announced her retirement and has since moved to Nevada with her husband. Reynolds taught classes such as psychology, sociology and AP psychology, a program she built at South.

“Psychology was a lot more project based so we were able to do more hands-on stuff, then AP was really nice for me after a while of teaching psychology because it was a lot more challenging to start that class and teach it,” Reynolds said.

Before Reynolds came to South, there was no psychology or AP psychology. Originally, Reynolds only taught psychology, until a student approached her asking about an AP program.

“The [student] did an independent study, and then the word got out, so the next year I had two or three kids that wanted to do it,” Reynolds said.

Meaghan Dunham, an English teacher, has been a colleague and friend of Reynolds for 24 years. In addition to bonding over the fact that they were the only redheads on staff at the time, Dunham said, the two and their husbands got along very well and became good friends as couples.

“We were both very dedicated to our jobs, so that was a passionate love that we shared,” Dunham said. “We had kids at the same time, and we just clicked.”

Reynolds impacted other teachers at the school as well. Kendra Caralis, a history teacher whose room was directly next to Reynolds’, had her as a mentor teacher in her first years of teaching.

“A mentor teacher, that’s somebody that helps you adjust to the school, helps you adjust to the community,” Caralis said. “There’s a big learning curve, and she was always helpful, always answered any question I had.”

Caralis wasn’t the only teacher that was able to learn something from Reynolds. Dunham said Reynolds helped her become more politically motivated.

“Her investment in the union and her investment in teacher’s rights made me become more aware and many of us on staff to become advocates for each other,” Dunham said.

John Meier ’18, one of Reynolds’ last students, said Reynolds understood that teenager’s lives can be stressful and tailored her teaching style to make them as engaged as possible.

“She was able to make psychology interesting,” Meier said. “Certain topics by themselves would seem boring but she made it interesting enough so students could retain the information and not just write notes and be done with it.”

Reynolds said the students have had the biggest impact on her out of any aspect of this job. Walking into a classroom full of eager students has been a blessing for her.

“I’ve been so lucky my whole career to be able to teach everyday,” Reynolds said. “To walk into a classroom, kids are there, they want to learn, it’s been a gift.”

Not only have the students affected her, but she’s affected them as well. Reynolds said the biggest way she’s impacted South is through the creation and growing of the AP psychology program.

“I think we had one or two sections the first year we had [AP Psychology] and I’ve taught as many as eight,” Reynolds said. “Once the class sizes got bigger, I’d been teaching seven for the last couple years. It was my full schedule.”

As much as Reynolds loved her job, having a husband who lived across the country made going back and forth too difficult. However, she will be remembered at South.

“She makes everyone rise to a higher standard,” Dunham said. “The work she did with the AP program was renowned. She inspired everyone to do more and to be more.”