Time passes on and teachers retire every year, with many leaving some kind of a permanent mark when they leave.
However, Ruth Doll’s 32 years with the school district was different than most.
While many teachers fill different positions on their path to retirement, Doll spent her entire 32 years as a Wapakoneta School District teacher as a fourth-grade teacher at Cridersville Elementary School. Her name will be forever linked with that specific classroom for every student that passed through the school and had her for fourth grade.
“I was very happy there,” said Doll, who was among a group of 11 teachers in Wapakoneta that chose to retire after the 2011-12 school year. “I always promoted the students from fourth grade and stayed right there. I think what I will miss most is the interaction with the children. They are one of the biggest blessings I have had in my life.”
Doll taught third grade an Norton City Schools for two years before beginning her career at Wapakoneta in 1978. She taught as a substitute in Wapakoneta and St. Marys for two years before officially taking her position as a fourth grade teacher in 1980.
Doll said there have been several changes to the education system since she began teaching. She pointed out some of those changes that have had the biggest impact.
“The family unit has changed drastically over the years,” Doll said. “It is not as strong as it once was. It has made a difference.”
Doll noted student testing has changed drastically. She said testing was “virtually non-existent” when she started teaching and accountability was measured in other ways.
She also shared technology has had a huge impact on the way students learn today.
Doll said she appreciated her time working at Cridersville.
“We were a very tight-knit group, like a family,” she said. “We were like a big family and I will miss being there a lot.”
Doll and her husband, John W. Doll, have two grown children. Chad is a teacher at St. Marys, and Kurt is an artist with a full-finishing business in Dayton.
“I plan to a do a lot of relaxing and reading now that I have the time to do it,” Doll said.
Doll said she also plans to do some traveling with her husband and spending more time with her family, especially her three grandchildren.
Ruth affectionately became known as the Sunshine Lady to her students and other people involved with the school. She was known for her habit of spontaneously breaking out in a song whenever it was a cloudy day or when the mood in the classroom seemed to call for it.
One of her favorites was the sunshine song.
A student brought in a talking, mechanical sunflower several years later that sang the sunshine song. The sunflower became nearly as much of a fixture as Doll at the school.