Max Foster went to work for the Payson Unified School District for the 1985-1986 school year. Friday will be his last day; after 37 years as an educator, Foster is retiring.
The loss to the district and education is the Payson Roundup's gain. After working as a part-time reporter with the paper since May 1986, Foster is coming on board full time.
Before coming to Payson, Foster taught and coached in Show Low for nine years, including serving as the head football coach. Prior to his move to Show Low, Foster, a very proud member of the Arizona State University alumni, was employed by the Tempe School District.
His first job as an educator was at the Palmer School in South Phoenix.
His wife, Kay, was asked what Max considered his biggest accomplishment as teacher. "He was teacher of the year a few years ago," she said.
Foster was named Central Arizona Middle Level Educator of the Year April 26, 2002.
As far as his accomplishments as a coach -- plaques and certificates bestowing honors for his service in athletics practically cover an entire wall of his newspaper office. The space that is not filled with athletic awards is filled with recognition of his talent as a sports reporter. Foster has won numerous citations of merit from the Arizona Newspaper Association during his years with the Roundup -- all for work done over weekends, late nights and a couple hours each day during the week.
Probably more important than the trophies, plaques and certificates are the lives of young people he has touched over the years as a teacher and coach.
"Wherever we go, we run into someone who will yell out ‘Hey, Mr. Foster!' or ‘Coach,'" Kay said. "There are a lot of kids out there who remember him."
A teacher can have no better legacy than students who remember him and think highly enough of him to still greet him years after they have moved on in their lives.
To the school district, we thank you for sharing Max with us all these years. To our readers, we look forward to bringing you Max Foster's talent on a full-time basis.