Valentine’s Day with Married Teachers

The Lancer celebrates this Valentines day with talks with married TOHS teachers Sara and Brian Cummings, and Valerie and Rod Stillwell about their relationships through the years.

Valentines Day with Married Teachers

Sara Cummings, a special education teacher, and Brian Cummings, an English teacher, have been together 10 years after meeting each other on Thousand Oaks High School’s campus.

The Lancer: When and how did you meet? 

Brian Cummings: Unofficially, we first met at a copy machine in the teachers’ lounge the day before school started eleven years ago. Officially we “met” almost one year later when Sara approached me in my classroom to ask me out. I had been wanting to approach her and ask her out the entire year after I met her but was too scared. 

TL: What are some of the positive aspects of working at the same place?

Sara Cummings: ​We can see each other whenever we want. But most of the time we don’t have a chance to visit. But it’s nice knowing we can if we want to. 

BC:  I always have someone to sit next to during meetings…and, she is always there to tell me to “stop” before I say something stupid.

TL: What do you wish you knew before working at the same place as your spouse? 

SC: ​That it doesn’t make a huge difference because we never get to see each other anyway. Haha. We used to be able to carpool and thought we always could but we have different schedules, so that doesn’t work either.

TL: What relationship advice would you possibly give to younger people or your younger self? 

BC: Oh, I have so much advice for the younger people… First, I would have to say that if you find yourself making excuses for your partner and say things like “You don’t know him/her like I do,” then it’s over before it even started. Also, don’t regret the bad relationships. They give you experience and empathy so you can appreciate the really good one when it happens. And finally… shut up and listen.

SC: ​That it’s totally possible to love someone more and more each day, even over a long time. Everyone on tv and media or whatever joke that marriage gets boring and show people constantly complaining about their spouses, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all. I never really have reason to complain about my husband.

TL: What, if anything, are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

SC: ​We got a puppy two weeks ago so that was our present to each other. We will also be giving the kids’ little gifts. We will probably just play with the puppy and eat Girl Scout cookies all day.

BC: In the age of COVID? Probably sit in a Starbucks drive-thru for thirty minutes, pick up some coffee, and drink it as we drive home. And probably exchange really meaningful cards.

TL: What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? 

BC: The one Valentine’s Day where we spent the day telling everyone we knew that I proposed to Sara the night before (I couldn’t wait).



Valerie Stillwell, a physical education teacher, and Rod Stillwell, a career technology teacher, are a married couple part of the TOHS staff. 


The Lancer: When and where did you meet?

Valerie Stillwell: Mr. Stillwell and I met in 1990. I worked in a physical therapy office as a certified athletic trainer and he was my patient. We met in Sept., went on our first date in Dec., and were engaged in Feb. We got married the following Jan. He was the nicest person I had ever met. 

TL: How long have you been together?

Rod Stillwell: After getting to know each other at the physical therapy clinic, we began to date, and three months later we got engaged. We were married in early 1992 and just recently celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.

TL: What are some of the positive aspects of working together?

VS: We actually rarely see each other at school, but it’s nice to know he’s working on the same campus. Before COVID, if I needed to talk to him or he needed to talk to me, we could easily see each other in person. Even during COVID, we don’t see each other as much as one would think. I work from home and he works from his room on campus. But it has been nice because we are going through the same thing together. It would be very difficult if I had a husband who wasn’t a teacher right now. We understand each other when we talk about how this has affected us.

RS: Although we have been working at the same school for over 20 years, we rarely see each other during the day because we work in different departments. It is nice, however, to know that my wife is on campus and that I can see her if I need/want to talk with her. I especially like when she makes an unexpected surprise visit to my classroom.

TL: What relationship advice would you possibly give to younger people or your younger self?

VS: I would say, don’t take everything so seriously and give the people you love space to grow. It takes a lot of work to keep a marriage or any relationship strong. It’s not easy. There will be good years and tough years. We’ve always made a point to celebrate our anniversary. Even when our kids were babies, we took time to go away for an anniversary weekend. It’s something we look forward to and I believe has helped to keep our marriage strong.

RS: The only thing that I would ask my younger self is, “Why didn’t you meet her earlier in your life?”

TL: What, if anything, are you doing for Valentine’s Day?

RS: My wife and I don’t usually do anything extra for Valentine’s Day because we were married just a few weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, and we always make our anniversary celebrations special.