Paying tribute to substitute Scott Friedman

Alexandrea Coe

Weaved within the fabric of our family of Giants, countless individuals exist who despite limited thanks, selflessly show up to provide consistency, stability and support. They are the unrecognized heroes of our communities and are the glue that enables our ever-adapting district to continue functioning at the capacity it is currently at. They become a part of the home that is fostered here. While their names might not be known, the impact they leave is felt by all. 

Scott Friedman was one such hero. He sadly passed away on May 10, 2023, due to a sudden health issue. His legacy will continue on, being remembered by students and teachers alike. 

Friedman dedicated over 21 years of his life to the Redwood community, showing up even during a pandemic to support not only students but teachers and administrators as well. For one period of time, Friedman was Redwood’s only floating long-term substitute on campus and according to administrative assistant Dina Craft, worked every day without falter since Jan. 5, 2022, substituting all grade levels and subjects. 

Friedman, born in New York and a graduate of the University of Buffalo, spent most of his life working with his hands in the fields of construction and renovation work. He was known by many of his peers as a proud father and cat-loving music enthusiast, who was not only kind, honest, selfless and loyal but also a humorous and talented raconteur. 

Moving to San Francisco after the New York Blizzard of 1979, he later settled down in Sausalito falling into the role of substituting as he put down his tools as a contractor. Within the last three years, Friedman became solely committed to being Redwood’s needed full-time substitute teacher. 

Sitting with his cat, Scott Friedman smiles contentedly.

“Even though [subsituting] might not be the most financially sustainable, you are helping kids get through the most pivotal points of their lives. And that is what makes it worth it all. Because there is nothing else like it. I know what I am doing here is important and despite this pandemic, I want to keep helping as much as possible,” Friedman said in a 2022 Bark interview. 

His helpful and kind nature has inspired many administrators and teachers. Joan Moir, a fellow coworker and substitute teacher, touched on how he upheld the Redwood spirit. 

“Despite the challenges of being a substitute teacher, his determination to be a part of this community never stopped. He was all about the community spirit of Redwood,” Moir said. “It’s not easy when you are a substitute to walk into a different room every day not sure what to expect and how to manage the specific group of students in front of you. Nonetheless, he was determined and he succeeded in doing so. He inspires me to this day.”

When asked to recall what words best described Friedman’s characters, the terms, selfless, seasoned, professional and kind along with many others were most frequently referred to. 

“He was more than a colleague. He was my friend,” Craft said. 

Having worked with him every single day, the two had grown close and created a unique bond. Craft describes her gratitude for the time she did share with him. 

“He was a really good man. I am so grateful that he was a part of my life and the Redwood community here. Losing him has made me realize how lucky we all are to have such amazing substitute [teachers] here. It reminds me to never take any of them for granted,” Craft said.  

Substitute teaching is truly not an easy job. Andrew Schumacher, another substitute teacher at Redwood, extrapolated on his experience of learning to appreciate that Friedman was not just an incredible peer but a fine substitute teacher. 

“He loved the students and he really liked the teachers too. He was happy to help any person that needed his support. I hope he knows that he did good. He really made a difference [here] and truly left an unforgettable mark on our community. I hope he knows that I miss him too,” Schumacher said. 

Schumacher is not alone in this feeling. Friedman’s absence has already been noticed by not just administrators and staff, but students too. And while most did not have the opportunity to better vocalize their appreciation for his tireless efforts in our community, his memory will live on within all of us. His sacrifices, motivational work ethic and loyalty will continue to inspire many.

Scott Friedman’s impact is felt by all. The Bark sends its condolences to all those who are impacted by his passing. We also send out our sympathy to his son, Nicholas Sullivan Friedman who continues on his legacy of substitute teaching.