By Christina Dimyan
For teachers, retiring is a bittersweet experience. After this year closes, they get to go on and enjoy life and be free of their teaching duties. At the same time, there will be a part of them that will miss their faculty and the school they committed their years to.
Ten teachers will be leaving the Madison family this year. Teachers include Elizabeth Traeger, English; Ralph Falkenberg, government and economics; Daniel Whitaker, world geography; Audrey Ambrose, soccer coach and outdoor adventure, Margaret Patrick, principles of human services, fashion design, and culinary arts; Virginia Yeakley, IPET and child development; Chris Wiemers, ag science; Christopher Mahon, special education; Al Gonzales, special education; and William Derrington, special education.
“I think that all of us are envious of people that have completed their career and reflect what they have done, and can enjoy what they worked so hard for is awesome,” principal Chris Thompson said.
In order for a teacher to retire, the age and years of service are added up and generally must equal a total of 80 to 85 – depending on when they started teaching. Normally, a full term of teaching is 30 years. Ten years of service is a requirement before retiring is an option.
One of the teachers retiring, Patrick, began her teaching career in the district in 1989. She joined the Madison family in ’97 after teaching at Judson, Roosevelt, and an American school in Belgium.
“I got married in October and he’s retired, so I thought we could go do stuff together,” Patrick said. “I’m going to miss being at Madison; I was here the longest and I have to most memories and seen a lot of change.”
Patrick taught special education for 16 years before she began teaching family and consumer science, which she would go on to teach for 18 years, giving her a total of 34 years of teaching. For the last three years, she has been teaching fashion design, culinary arts, and principles of human services.
After retirement, she plans to finish her task list and do some volunteer work. A honeymoon and traveling are also some things she is looking forward to.
Yeakley is also leaving the Madison family after 23 years of teaching. Eight of those years were spent at Madison teaching child development, IPET, and teen parenting.
“I’m leaving with mixed emotions. I will miss students and the fun of education,” Yeakley said. “But I am looking forward to lots of summers in Canada.”
Wiemers, the ag science teacher, will be saying goodbye to the ag family. He has been teaching ag for a total of 34 years, of which 20 years were spent at Madison, and 14 at Churchill. Although he is leaving, he still plans to continue working with ag science somewhere. After so many years teaching, he has seen a lot of change and realized this was the year to retire.
“It’s bittersweet but I know it’s time. I have a lot of ‘remember whens’ and a lot of things have changed so I know it’s time to go,” Wiemers said.