School district retires 31

There were twice as many school district employees retiring this year as last year and the trend is expected to continue.

"We expect this many or more next year because the baby boomers are retiring," said Rich Alexander, assistant superintendent of human resources for Douglas County School District.

There were 31 retirees at the end of 2006-07 compared with 15 retiring the previous school year.

"Are we able to fill positions? Yes, because of declining student enrollment," said Alexander. "We have high-end need areas like special education, but we always have needs for that."

Three of the 31 retiring employees are bus drivers. Alexander said being a bus driver would be a good job to get.

"It's flexible and there's a lot of opportunities," he said. "The new buses are all automatic - you don't have to drive a stick shift. They handle very well."

Retiring school district employees were honored at the school board meeting June 12 where they received apple awards. Retiring certified teachers are:

Whittell teacher Maxine Atherton retires after 43 years in education. She is described as an icon in the community with a passion for teaching.

Kevin Barnes who is retiring after 27 years as a history, math, reading teacher and PE coach at Carson Valley Middle School.

Gardnerville Elementary speech and language therapist Mary Boykin retires after 31 years with the district.

Ken Carr began his teaching career in 1975. The Pau-Wa-Lu teacher and "voice of Carson Valley" continues to support past students at athletic events. "Everyone up for the kick-off."

Alpine County graduate and teacher Judy Currence helped open Pau-Wa-Lu in 1994. Currence is known for teaching "less than willing" students about homework on Friday nights.

Nancy Evans is retiring after being principal at Carson Valley Middle School for the last three years. Alexander said her fashion sense and Texas twang will be missed.

Janice Florey retires after 30 years in education, 25 of them in Douglas County. Florey has served in many capacities, most currently as director of grants, assessments and special programs.

"My goal in life is to beat her to work," Superintendent Carol Lark said about Florey. "You have to be here before 6 a.m."

Florey is an avid supporter of the Douglas High School music program and will continue to be a volunteer after retirement. She was awarded a piece of the original Douglas commons floor at graduation Friday, an honor reserved for standout school supporters.

Orlyn Fordham worked at Jacobsen High School for the past year but prior to that, was a long-time science teacher at Douglas High School.

Kathryn Garcia retires after 30 years with the school district. The Jacks Valley Elementary reading teacher's strength "is editing everyone at school, including the principal."

Meneley will be losing two reading specialists. Elizabeth Hull is known for writing grants and for helping students become better learners. Linda Ladendroff will be missed as a mentor of special education teachers.

Melinda Lewandowski keeps in contact with former students. She started teaching at South Lake Tahoe and has been at Scarselli since 1989.

Judy Maynor has been a teacher for a total of 38 years, most recently at Jacks Valley Elementary where she likes to hike in the school's outdoor habitat.

Carla Paterson has been a teacher at Scarselli since it opened in 1988 and was described as a gifted classroom teacher.

Robbin Pedrett, principal at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School is the local girl who made good. The 1971 Douglas graduate started teaching at Whittell High School in 1980 and Alexander said she has become an outstanding principal through her knowledge of middle school issues.

Carson Valley Middle School teacher Wendy Perra taught many subjects in her 26 years with the district, in addition to being National Junior Honor Society advisor, sports coach and supporter.

Bruce Porter has been a teacher for 32 years, 29 of them in Douglas County. The fifth- and sixth-grade Jacks Valley teacher is known for his TGIF parties.

Carolyn Porter from Whittell has been an employee of the district for 28 years and will continue her career in school psychology.

Gardnerville Elementary teacher Linda Tobias has taught many subjects in her 27 years with the school district and "lights up when she teaches reading."

Cissy Tucker has mentored many teachers since she started at Scarselli in 1991 where she has served as administrator and teacher.

Scarselli teacher Jerry VanSickle, known as "Mr. V," is an avid supporter of Douglas High School athletics.

Mary Whalen learned Spanish to be an English as a second language teacher at Jacks Valley where she works on family literacy programs.

Mary Wright, special education and reading teacher at Jacobsen High School, retires after 29 years in education.

Norma Villaseñor from Human Resources presented the apple awards to the retiring classified employees.

Gail McCormick has dried tears and applied thousands of Band-Aids in her 23 years as school nurse at Gardnerville Elementary.

Head secretary Maria Martin has been at Scarselli since it opened in 1988 and was classified employee of the year in 1998. Villaseñor said she welcomes people to her school with a smiling face.

In his 21 years in district transportation, Vehicle Maintenance Supervisor Bob Murphy has been responsible for all of the buses, plows and utility vehicles in the entire district.

Purchasing buyer Marie Rau is retiring after 31 years of service in the school district.

Douglas custodian Terry Starks has been with the district 30 years. He is known for taking pride in his work. "Staff and students know he's been there," said Villaseñor.

Villaseñor introduced Dana Murphy as "the only person I know who has been kissed by Elvis." Murphy has been a school bus driver with an excellent record for 20 years.

Patty Bertram retires after 20 years as a bus driver. She plans to raise horses, create art and be a substitute bus driver in her spare time.

"The kids on his bus know the rules," said Villaseñor about Dave Herbert, who retired to Palm Springs after 12 years with the district.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment