Natomas Charter Mourns Teacher


THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Natomas Charter School students today are wearing black in memory of beloved teacher Gregory Humphries.

The 6th through 12thgrade community is still reeling from the sudden death of Humphries, 53, who succumbed Tuesday to injuries he sustained during a skydiving accident earlier this year.

Humphries taught photography and math classes at the charter school for 12 years, earning the respect and admiration of students and colleagues alike – many of whom have taken to social media commemorating the longtime teacher’s life.

“The students are supporting each other and all of the teachers are being very brave,” said Ting Sun, the school’s executive director.

Students were informed of Humphries’ death yesterday, Sept. 27. Counselors have been made available to students since the announcement.

“Our school lost a beloved teacher … and I lost a dear friend,” teacher Karen Pollard said. “I’ve worked with Greg for the last 12 years. He will be missed every single day.”

Charter school students are being encouraged to express their grief through art and writing projects. They have written messages and remembrances on butcher paper posted at the school and plans are in the works to create sculpture that will memorialize the teacher.

 “Most large schools might (also) feel the impact from this, but since we are so small it really does send a wave across campus,” said school co-founder Charlie Leo, his voice breaking with emotion as he described his friend and colleague. “How the community has been coming together, supporting each other — has just been amazing.”

Humphries, a seasoned hiker and parachute jumper, enjoyed retreating from cell phone range with friends to remote areas including Desolation Wilderness. He suffered serious injuries while skydiving out of state in April 2012.

Even with recent setbacks in his recovery, Sun said hopes were Humphries would return to teaching. News of his death came as a shock, she said.

“Greg Humphries was an incredibly talented teacher who had great love for both art and math, but even greater love for his students,” said Tammy Lee, academy coordinator at the charter school. “What made Greg a unique teacher was his ability to take a subject like math, that is challenging for many students, and infuse it with creativity, real world applications and art in a way that helped students not only understand math but develop a love for it as well.” 

Described as a “Renaissance man,” Humphries taught Natomas Charter students geometry, pre-calculus and calculus. He also taught photography.

 “He had the rational intellect of a math teacher but also the heart and soul of an artist,” Sun said. “He was able to find and see the artistic beauty of a math problem.”

Originally from the San Diego area, Humphries graduated from Pitzer College where he majored in art and minored in math. He earned his teaching credential while teaching at Natomas Charter School.

Said Sun, “He bridged the two (art and math), which was perfect for our school.”

Details for a memorial event at the charter school are pending. Those in need of grief counseling or support are encouraged to call the school’s main office at (916) 928-5353.



  1. […] Humphries, who taught at the school 12 years, died in 2012 as the result of injuries suffered in a hang-gliding accident. […]

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