MARYSVILLE – Ever wonder what teachers do when they retire?
Smile. A lot.
Newly named interim Marysville School District Superintendent Jason Thompson said at a ceremony for retirees Tuesday that 47 employees are calling it quits. All in attendance received a plaque and kind words.
Many of the kindest words were for Cascade Elementary School Principal Teresa Iyall-Williams. She started with the district as principal at Tulalip Elementary in 1992. She was credited with starting up systems that are still used today concerning culture. She also was applauded for her efforts in closing the achievement gap. Colleagues talked about her as a C-champion, H-honor, A-attitude, M-motivation, P-perseverance, I-integrity, O-optimism, N-never give up.
Kyle Kinoshita, a former administrator here, but now with Seattle schools, said of Iyall-Williams, “It takes a team, but it also takes a leader.”
In tribal tradition, MSD administrator Anthony Craig and his family played drums and sang to honor her.
The school board meeting room was packed with retirees, their families and other supporters.
The event started with a slide show. It was in black and white. Thompson did not say if that was because color wasn’t invented yet when most of the employees started working. A baby cried – certainly a future choir member.
Tracy Souza, assistant director of Human Resources, said the community appreciates the many, many years the retirees have dedicated to kids and families.
“We are envious of you retiring,” Thompson said. He talked about the combined hundreds of years that the retirees dedicated to the lives of children – when actually the number certainly was more than 1,000.
“You love kids and you’re here for kids, making it a difficult decision to retire,” Thompson said.
As a group, whether the retiree was an administrator, principal, teacher, paraeducator, secretary, custodian or lunch lady, all were noted for being “all about kids.”
In retirement, many planned to travel. Others were planning projects. Many want to do volunteer work – some even returning to the school district.
Two of the teachers retiring worked for the district’s largest high schools.
Dick Caldwell, 59, of Marysville-Pilchuck taught social studies and leadership and coached diving. He was in the district 25 years. His wife, Tammy, is retiring from Marysville Getchell. In her 18 years in the district she taught leadership, math, P.E. and yearbook. They bought a trailer and plan to travel.
“Eat lobster in Maine. See the U.S.,” he said, adding they haven’t traveled “a ton.”
Dick said he hasn’t seen that much change since he started teaching. “Kids are kids,” he said.
Tammy said kids are the same; it’s the parents who are different. “They are not on the teacher’s side,” she said.
When Tammy went up to receive her plaque, MG Principal Richard Zimmerman said she served on the Washington Activity Coordinators Association board for 21 years and was named to its Hall of Fame. “Interesting that she’s on the board, and Dick was inducted” into the WACA Hall of Fame, too, Zimmerman joked.
From M-P, Principal Dave Rose honored Scott Stokes, a counselor; Kim Caskey, who taught 36 years and already has done lots of traveling and plans to do more; and art teacher Karen Epperson, who taught for more than 30 years and started the saying, “Tenacity of Tomahawks.” Former principal Rob Lowry also was honored as officially retiring.
Principal Sharon McFalls of Allen Creek Elementary talked about custodian Sonny Britton, who nurtured every child, and lunch lady Sandy Goodale, who didn’t just feed kids but taught them to be good citizens.
From Liberty, Amalia Navas was honored as an English Language Learner teacher who plans to volunteer and go on mission trips to teach the gospel. Cheryl Bertagni taught 37 years there and also taught kids how to go home and cook their own meals. She helped the district start its first full-day kindergarten.
At Marshall, Laurie Linn was secretary there for 27 years. Principal Kelly Sheward liked that she is “old school with a calm personality. She would ask the kids, ‘What’s the magic word?’” To which they would respond, “please.”
Cindy Muriekes taught for 40 years, 27 in Marysville. “I’d get the vibe from Cindy” on if a decision was good or not, Sheward said.
Teacher John Hewitt was honored by Shoultes Principal Cory Taylor. “He knows fifth grade front and back,” Taylor said, adding he helped show newer teachers the ropes.
Hewitt, who taught in the same classroom as his father, has already done a lot of traveling. He’s collected 200 rulers as souvenirs from around the world.
Lunch lady Candy Thompson started at Sunnyside 24 years ago as a dishwasher. She soon became the kitchen boss. Principal Brynn Marcum said she knew what every kid liked to eat and would even come early to bake cookies for a class party.
Marcum also introduced fourth-grade teacher Holly Miller, who was there for 28 years. She has two daughters, both are teachers, one also at Sunnyside. Grandkids also go to school there. She and husband Doug have been married 40 years. Marcum teased the educator who once made a sign for her husband that read, “Happy Brithday.”
Donna Mohs was honored for being a paraeducator in the district for 28 years. When she retires she plans to travel to the eight states she hasn’t been to yet, and to come back to Marysville Middle School to volunteer.
MMS Principal Angie Hanson, along with school board member Pete Lundberg, honored Carla Stuller for her 31 years there as secretary.
“She is the heart and foundation of MMS,” Hanson said.
Lundberg said “back in the day” when he was at MMS, he once told Stuller, “I’ll cover for you.”
He admitted that was a mistake – between trying to cover the many phone lines and intercom system.
“Don’t let the head secretary be gone,” he said.
He said Carla has been married to her husband Ted for 50 years. He used to bring her coffee at work.
“It’s a love affair,” he said.
Lundberg said Stuller is kind and smart, picking up technology before anyone else.
“The district is losing a star,” he said, which could have been said about many of the retirees.
Marysville School District 2018 retirees
Lisa Alden, art teacher, 10th Street Middle
Bernadette Allred, speech language pathologist, Special Education
Dale Ayotte, English teacher, Marysville-Pilchuck High
Cindy Barry, security officer, Marysville Getchell High
Cynthia Belter, bus driver, Transportation Department
Cheryl Bertagni, kindergarten teacher, Liberty
Janet Braun, LAP Reading-Sped Resource Room teacher, Pinewood
Sonny Britton, lead custodian, Allen Creek
Kari Calamaro, secretary, Marysville Tulalip campus
Tamara Caldwell, P.E.-activities-Leadership-Yearbook teacher MG
Dick Caldwell, social studies teacher, M-P
Kim Caskey, FASCE teacher, M-P
Diane Corey, 2nd-3rd Hi Cap teacher, Pinewood
Nancy Elsbree, Food Service associate, Shoultes Karen Epperson, art teacher, M-P Nicki Fagerlie, custodian, ECEAP
Teresa Feaster, 3rd grade teacher, Grove
Cathy Fridrich, secretary, Special Education
Kathleen Friend, 1st grade teacher, Cascade
Nancy Goldfinch, secretary, Sunnyside
Sandy Goodale, kitchen manager Allen Creek
David Hasko, custodian, Pinewood
Linda Haynes, paraprofessional, M-P
John Hewitt, 5th grade teacher, Shoultes
Janice Hougen, Health Room assistant, Marysville Tulalip campus
Teresa Iyall-Williams, principal, Cascade
Peggy Jensen, occupational therapist, Special Education
Jim Jensen, Special Education teacher, Marshall
Ronda Konen, Sped Resource Room-IAES teacher, MG
Melanie Kreiger, English teacher, MG
Susan Latendresse, counselor, Mountain View High
Elizabeth Leith, Food Service associate, Marysville Middle
Michalle Liburdy, art-English teacher, Arts & Technology High
Laurie Linn, secretary, Marshall
Rob Lowry, principal, M-P Holly Miller, 4th grade teacher, Sunnyside
Donna Mohs, paraprofessional, MMS
Frank Monkman, social studies teacher, MG
Cynthia Muriekes, 4th grade teacher, Marshall
Amalia Navas, Title 1 reading teacher, Liberty
Jamey Parr, technician, Maintenance Department
Sandie Phipps, secretary, Finance & Operations Department
Scott Stokes, counselor, M-P
Carla Stuller, head secretary, MMS
Jeff Thomas, counselor, M-P
Candy Thompson, kitchen manager, Sunnyside