Adamson to say adieu

After over 30 years of teaching, English department chair announces plans to retire at the end of the school year


Avi Zeifman

Adamson instructs her classroom in December 2021.

Chloe Lewcock, staff reporter

McCallum has always been more than just a school to Diana Adamson. It’s been a place to fill her students with knowledge to pursue the world, their dreams, and push them to be anything they believe they can be. But after over 20 years of teaching at McCallum, the English teacher and department head decided it’s finally time for change: retirement. Her impact on the school and the mark she has left on generations of students is something that will remain with the school forever.

“It feels like home,” Adamson said. “When I was going through rough times, for whatever reason, this has been my safe spot. There’s just something special about it. So much of our faculty has been here for a long, long time. So it was nice. We really helped to create that community.”

Adamson discovered her love of teaching long before she joined the McCallum community in 2001. Previously, she worked in her hometown of San Antonio, in Tennessee, and eventually in Austin at Kealing Middle School.

“At first when I came from Kealing, I was so homesick,” Adamson said, “but then by the second semester, I knew that this was the place I wanted to be.”

But all good things must come to an end. In her final year at McCallum, Adamson wants to cherish every moment of her adored career.

When I am going through rough times, for whatever reason, this has been my safe spot. There’s just something so special about it

— English teacher Diana Adamson

“I want to savor everything. I want to go to football games, and I want to go to the shows, and I want to enjoy my students.” Adamson said. “I’m trying to not do so much, to shed some of the work stuff, so I can do something a little bit more relaxing and just enjoy.”

One of the things Adamson loves most about Mac is the diverse and impressive fine arts productions. And in her last year, she plans to take every opportunity to enjoy what McCallum has to offer. This, she says, is what sets McCallum apart from other schools Adamson has taught at. Creative opportunities combined with strong academics and unifying school spirit created a unique environment that a lot of schools don’t have.

“I’ve taught only in one other high school, and it was different, because there wasn’t as much going on that was so amazingly well done,” Adamson said. “I can take friends to football games with a high school band, or take them to a play, or a musical, or an orchestra concert. Whatever I do, they’re always so amazed at the talent that the kids have here. I love that I get that chance as a teacher because y’all have to watch what I’m passionate about all day long. We teach because we’re passionate about what we teach and who we teach. And I think it’s super cool that I can go watch you all do what you’re super passionate about.”

In her time as English department head, she has not only helped students navigate through the challenges of high school but has also connected with the faculty members within her department and outside of it. Adamson has worked alongside fellow English teacher Amy Smith for the past five years to improve the everyday experiences of their students as well as the overall quality of their department.

“Ms. Adamson is the heart of the ELA program,” Smith said. “She has poured her life into this program through the years. She is really the heartbeat of McCallum. She’s an institution here. Everyone looks to her for leadership, especially during change.”

Ms. Adamson is the heart of the ELA program. She has poured her life into this program through the years. She is really the heartbeat of McCallum.

— English Teacher Amy Smith

Adamson’s leadership skills, initiative and flexibility have made her stand out. She has gone out of her way to help students become more successful versions of themselves, a trait her colleagues will miss.

“I’m super sad about her retiring, but I totally get it,” Smith said. “Teaching is exhausting right now, and she is ready to do something new. I will miss her every single day at school. I usually pop into her room at least once a day, so that will look very different.”

Adamson’s students, current and past, share her colleagues’ feelings.

“She was always patient and made sure the assignments always made sense to everyone,” said sophomore Ella Fleming, who was in Adamson’s class as a freshman. “At first her class was sort of intimidating. But after a while, I realized that it was the perfect amount [of work]. I actually felt like I was learning stuff and I really loved how organized she was.”

For many of Adamson’s students, her impact on their lives went beyond the classroom.

“Ms. Adamson taught me so much as a person,” sophomore Maya Julian said. “Freshman year was our first time back after the online year, and she helped us all adapt to life in person again.”

Adamson’s connection to her students was a big part of why she is so beloved at the school.

“She is always there if we need her, and even now, when we are not her students anymore, she continues to support us and be there,” Julian said.

Adamson still wants to be involved with education somewhat after her retirement and plans to participate in the AISD teacher mentoring program; however, she also looks forward to prioritizing herself and spending more time on her hobbies. As she prepares for her new reality of retirement, Adamson reflects on her favorite things about teaching.

“I love my job,” Adamson said. “I love working with my students. Y’all think I’m kind of mean, but you end up knowing that I really care and that I would do anything that I can for you all to help you do what you need to do.”