by Emma Fischer| feature editor
Soon, she will put her pen down, turn in her last piece of paperwork and step off campus, never required to come back. After 30 years of her work, administrator Cynthia Rinehart will be retiring at the end of this semester.
“My daughter is a senior and she’ll be graduating from Churchill this year in the spring. I spent a lot of time when she was little working. I want to be able to spend the spring with her and going through her award ceremonies and things. I want to get her settled in college, either Colorado or New York. I will be able to go and get her settled and not be on a timeline. I won’t have to feel like I have to be here and not be able to do that,” Rinehart said.
Rinehart has worked at many different NEISD high schools except Reagan and Madison during her three decades of work.
“I was pulled to this school. My daughter was ill so I was out at FMLA. I was taking care of her. I couldn’t continue at the school that I was. When I came back, wherever they had an opening was where I was placed. It turned out to be a great place. I’ve had great experiences at all of the schools. They put us where they need us the most,” Rinehart said.
Every school is said to be different in their own unique ways. No school’s community or students are the same.
“Every high school is very very different. This one in particular, you need to be very proactive with parents. Parents in this community do not want to find out from their children what has happened when they get home. If I had you in the office today, your parents would not be very happy with me not communication with them and you going home and saying, ‘I had to go see Mrs. Rinehart today,’ and they go, ‘what!’,” Rinehart said. “Being proactive with parents is very important. They become a part of the team when you do that. You won’t have to go on the defensive, justifying why it wasn’t communicated with them. At some of the schools, you can’t get a hold of the parents and so you have to deal with the kids right then and there. Sometimes it’s after the fact. The school is very unique in that fact.”
To relate to students, Rinehart has a lot of background to understand the struggles of the high school life; the stress, pressure, drama and the relationships.
“There are so many different things. I’ll remember some of my coaching experiences, differently than I did when I was young. That shaped me. I’ll remember the light turn on in kid’s eyes when they finally get it. All the moments of sheer joy in kids eyes when they accomplish something is something I will always remember, whether I was a part of it or not. Just watching kids grow, no matter what demographic they grow up in, they’re all teenagers. The problems relate to their environment but again, they’re all teenagers and a lot of problems can relate to each other. You still have drama and you still have anxiety and you still put pressure on yourself. They want to make A’s here, there and much of the problems are the same. Teenagers are teenagers,” Rinehart said.
She had originally started as a teacher, but as her passion to change kids lives grew bigger, so did her status in the NEISD board.
“I was a high school math teacher. I did everything from sixth grade up to calculus. I could probably tutor up to algebra two up to this point if I studied and brushed up my skills. I often times will walk around the cafeteria and see kids doing their math homework and think, ‘oh, I can still do that.’ Every once in a while kids will ask me questions and be surprised that I know how to do that,” Rinehart said.
Rinehart loved the kids she worked with. She had wished years ago that she could reach more children, and change their lives for the better.
“I love teaching. I felt like I did a pretty good job with that, but I wanted to be able to reach more kids. I wanted to have a bigger impact and possible touch kids I would never ever have been able to see or have any connection with. Throughout my whole life experiences, I’ve been able to relate to a lot of things that happened to high school teenagers throughout the years and experiences with my own daughter that I then can be empathetic with parents as their kids are struggling through different things,” Rinehart said.
The person replacing her position has not yet been announced.
“When they announce the new principal, then that new principal will get to post my job and they will get to interview and pick. You have to post the job, and it will be open for a certain number of days. Anyone can apply. The sitting principal will be in o the interview committee and he will have a couple of the administrators and a couple of the teachers on there too. That pricicipal would make that choice. If Mr. Mehlbrech was staying, then my job would have been posted and he would have been already going into that process,” Rinehart said.
With so much free time coming up, Rinehart has a list of things she wants to accomplish, and every day, the list grows longer.
“I’m going to rest. My retirement to do list is growing daily. Once I get Kaitlyn settled, I’ll figure it out. I have a whole nother chapter to write but I’m not sure what that is yet. I’m going to do something fun and just enjoy life,” Rinehart said.
Though, goodbye may not be forever. Rinehart considers tutoring and coming back to the school to substitute.
“I’m going to get paid to wake up every day and be able to work when I want, don’t work when I don’t have to. I might substitute. I will always do something with kids, because that’s where my passion is. I will not miss paperwork. I will miss the people and the kids. You can have just as bad of a day there is but when you walk away from the paperwork and the crazy and visit with kids, that turns the whole day around. That’s what my life has been and that’s probably where it will be. I may teach some swimming lessons or a bit of math tutoring, substituting,” Rinehart said.
Her passion is helping kids through rough times.
“I will miss the interactions with the kids the most, definitely,” Rinehart said.
Through her years and years of teaching, helping students and getting them to their best selves, she has always wanted to give back to the community that has been accepting to her during her years of teaching.
Rinehart said,“I wanted to pay it forward. It’s been my biggest mission here at Johnson, to pay it forward. I went through a very difficult time with my daughter being ill before I came here. I want to pay forward to parents and the children that are struggling. You can say that you know, that you understand, but unless you’ve lived it, you don’t understand. I’ve lived some very difficult things and it has made the relationship with parents, students, kids even stronger.”