With more than 382 years of experience between them, Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education members recognized 13 employees upon their retirement.
The retirees, including teachers, a technology specialist, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, a custodian, and a para-educator, received appreciation gifts from the Board during its regular meeting Tuesday.
“You’re leaving a big hole in the district,” school board member Ron Mertz told the retirees.
Upon his thank you, those in attendance at the meeting gave the retirees a standing ovation.
Wapakoneta City Schools Board President Willie Sammetinger told the employees to enjoy their retirements and extended his congratulations as well.
Before introducing them, Superintendent Keith Horner said they had done so much for so many children through the years. He provided comments only about those retirees in attendance at the meeting.
Wapakoneta Elementary School teachers retiring include Yvonne Cook, Jean Turner and Melanie Webb. Each of them retire with 35 years experience, Cook as a third-grade teacher, Turner as a second grade and Title I teacher, and Webb with time spent teaching art, intervention and Title I.
Special needs students hold an extra special place in her heart, and it takes an extra special person to reach them, Horner said of Cook, who also is known for annual Arbor Day programs and rocket launches for the third grade.
The superintendent said Webb, a nationally certified teacher, loves what she does and has a passion for teaching children to read, which is such a gift.
He said Turner also has dedicated time during her career to teaching children to read and it is amazing at what she has done.
Denny Cosart is retiring with 33 years teaching social studies at Wapakoneta High School.
Steve Schuler taught art and technology at Wapakoneta High School and handled technology jobs for the district. He is retiring after 29 years.
Horner said Schuler is an unbelievable problem solver, never someone who would look at any situation and say he couldn’t fix it. At the same time he is always kind, considerate, polite and professional.
Wapakoneta Middle School teachers retiring include, language arts teacher Paula Quatman with 35 years experience, and science and social studies teacher Elisha Smith with 21 years with Wapakoneta City Schools and previous experience elsewhere.
“She put her heart and soul into teaching every day, even when she had to switch from science to social studies,” Horner said of Smith. “She cared so much about the subject she was teaching and the kids were blessed to have her.”
Quatman, who also taught physical education for the district, approached challenging students not as problems but figured out a way to get them to learn whatever it took. She also was instrumental in beginning the annual biography fair.
Ruth Doll is retiring as a fourth-grade teacher from Cridersville Elementary School after 32 years.
Now teaching her second generation of families, Horner said Doll is the gold standard of teaching and is respected greatly by everyone.
Also retiring are Sheryl Beers a bus driver for more than 31 years, Dianne Harshman a bus driver and cafeteria workers for nine years, Nancy Hunter a para-educator for 25 years, Mike McPherson a custodian for 16 years, and Lou Neuman, a cafeteria worker for 47 years.
Horner said Beers has a great attitude and works well with children.
“Everyone who sees her knows her because she’s driven on so many trips,” Horner said.
He said just since they began counting, she has taken students on more than 380 extra trips and drove more than 19,800 miles.
“Thank you so much for the impact you have had on kids as they come and go to school,” Horner said.
He said Harshman also really cares about children, even giving those who ride her bus money every year for Christmas.
“You love those kids and they love you,” Horner said.