Kristy and Grant Blackburn: Married teachers from opposing schools embrace their relationships


Melissa Ding

Angela Wong, News Editor

Two high schools, both alike in dignity; at the fair Palo Alto Unified School District Office on a sunny April afternoon in 2004 is where we lay our scene. It was just a normal day for Palo Alto (Paly) High School economics teacher Grant Blackburn, until English teacher and The Oracle adviser Kristy Garcia made a beeline toward him and said, “Let’s go out for those beers.” To this day, Grant Blackburn is certain that it was fate that brought them together.

The two first fatefully met in September at a beginning teachers’ support program being held at the District Office that year. At one meeting in particular, Kristy Blackburn invited Grant Blackburn to sit at her table with an offer no one can resist: “Join us. We have snacks!”

For Kristy Blackburn, it only took one “zero date”—her term for testing the waters with Grant—to realize how well she and Grant Blackburn get along. “We just had a lot of fun and were both like, ‘Wow, you’re really easy to talk to,’” she said.

As two halves of a whole, Grant Blackburn and Kristy Blackburn soon experienced the myriad benefits that come with an inter-district relationship once they started dating in 2004. “I actually like the balance we have,” Grant Blackburn said. “It’s great because we understand what we go through on a daily basis.” Furthermore, the two share vacation days, can ‘substitute’ for their partner’s class when they’re busy at ameeting, and have extended their social circus to a district-wide radius.

The couple has seen quite a few astonished faces when they mention to their students that they married someone from a rival school. “When I told my students in the past, they were like, ‘What? How could you do that?’ It’s like Romeo and Juliet,” Kristy Blackburn said. The two do enjoy participating in this friendly rivalry. “We would go to football and basketball games together wearing green and red,” Grant Blackburn said. “We’d sit on one side of the stadium, and then halfway through the game switch to the other side.”

Grant Blackburn agrees that their relationship is unique and their love for one another is as large as, say, an entire school district. “We’re proof that love can persist and cross town boundaries,” he said.