KSC 2020 Retirees

KSC 2020 Retirees
KSC 2020 Retirees

Celebrating Retirees

Kokomo School Corporation officials wish to recognize our 21 staff members who retired following the 2019-2020 school year.

Typically, the school community honors these retirees during the district’s annual Schoolmasters celebration. Kokomo Schools was unable to host this year’s event due to building closures caused by a nationwide pandemic. In the absence of this event, Kokomo Schools is finding additional ways to honor the careers of these 21 individuals.

“During this unprecedented year, with our community, nation, and world facing a pandemic that has upended much of our daily work and life as we know it, our retirees have missed out on many of the traditional ceremonies, banquets, and opportunities for us to personally thank them for the tremendous work they have done,” Kokomo Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hauswald explained. “These retirees have made a difference in the education of our community for decades, and their expertise and experience will be missed when school commences in August. I wish these retirees the very best in their future plans.”

Please help us in in congratulating this year’s retirees, whose names are listed below, and help us wish them well in the next chapters of their lives. Each retiree was given an opportunity to share memories and highlights from their careers, as well as their retirement plans. All responses we received are included.

 

Administrative Retirements

Dr. Paula Concus is retiring from Bon Elementary School, where she served as an Elementary School Principal. Dr. Concus served Kokomo Schools for 16 years.

What schools have you worked at, and what positions have you held during your teaching career?

During my career in education I worked at the following schools and held the following positions: 5th grade teacher at Buffalo Elementary School in Buffalo, Missouri; 1st-grade teacher, 3rd grade teacher, Title I teacher, and Title I Director at DeMotte Elementary School in DeMotte, Indiana; Principal at Beiriger Elementary School in Griffith, Indiana; Principal at Wheatfield Elementary School in Wheatfield, IN; Principal at Darrough Chapel and Bon Air Elementary schools in the Kokomo School Corporation.

 What year did you begin working for Kokomo Schools?

I began my career with Kokomo Schools in 2004.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

After changing my major five times in college, I decided on Elementary Education. Becoming a principal was a natural evolution as I grew through teaching, learning, and leading.

What are your retirement plans?

I plan to relax and find God’s next step for me.

Do you have any additional information you wish to share about yourself or your career?

My first week of “retirement” was spent with six grandkids at our house for a week! Everyone survived! Also, I earned a Doctorate degree in 2015 just because I love learning and challenges!

Share with us a favorite story or memory.

I am a bit of an introvert, so most of my stories live inside of me and are difficult to recall for sharing. I do have many fond memories of places, people, and situations. I have seen so much, and experienced so much, in my life, so that has helped me relate to others in many ways. This has helped me appreciate the humanity in all of us, and helped me recognize the “sameness”, while honoring the “differences” of families I have served.

 

Certified Retirements

Cynthia Bizjak is retiring from Kokomo High School, where she was a Special Education teacher. Cynthia served Kokomo Schools for 42 years.

 

Vicki Boles is retiring from Maple Crest STEM Middle School, where she was a Physical Education teacher. Vicki served Kokomo Schools for 36 years.

What schools have you worked at, and what positions have you held during your teaching career?

I was hired 36.5 years ago when Kokomo Schools introduced Elementary Physical Education instructors as staff. My first job was with Mr. Mathias at Darrough Chapel. At the elementary level, I taught at Bon Air, Pettit Park, Boulevard, Sycamore, Columbian, Lafayette Park, and Maple Crest. I also taught health and P.E. summer school classes at Kokomo High School. During these years, I met many wonderful staff members at each school, and those friendship have continued throughout the years. I was the Student Honor Council advisor for 23 years, National Junior Honor Society advisor for five years, cross country coach for 15 years, and track coach for 20 years.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

During my years at Haworth High School (GO HUSKIES), Mrs. Karen Wolfe was my Physical Education instructor. I found it is true that a teacher can influence, and change, your course in life by saying and doing the simplest things. As I changed my major several times, I know that God knew where I needed to be. I finally stopped and listened. What a wonderful thing it turned out to be. I am so glad I was able to pursue teaching as a career!

What are your retirement plans?

My retirement plans will be to not make plans. I just returned from a trip to Hilton Head. My friends have planned road trips to the lake and other awesome places. I will stay active in all my volunteer activities with the church, HESP, Bona Vista, etc. I will continue to be active in the schools to help kids in various ways. My grandkids always are at the top of my list to visit!

Do you have any additional information you wish to share about yourself or your career?

The most important thing is to do your very best, to do it with love, and to enjoy it. (author unknown). I have loved my career, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do something I love for all these years. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my life.

Share with us a favorite story or memory.

My special memories include the volunteer efforts of my students through the years. My students worked hard in our community to give back with their time, talent, and treasure; their dedication, enthusiasm, and love will be remembered. All my student athletes have been a special part of my life, too.

 

Cheryl Buchanan is retiring from Boulevard STEM Elementary School, where she was a kindergarten teacher. Cheryl served Kokomo Schools for 29 years.

What schools have you worked at, and what positions have you held during your teaching career?

I began my teaching career in 1987 when I graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a Kindergarten Endorsement. I substitute taught from the fall of 1987 until the spring of 1991 in Kokomo Schools, as well as in other districts.

 What year did you begin working for Kokomo Schools?

My first official position as an educator, in 1991, was teaching kindergarten at Washington Elementary School. Mr. Tom Power was my first principal. I taught one year at Washington Elementary before moving to Boulevard Elementary School. I taught kindergarten at Boulevard for 28 years… all in the same classroom. I have spent my entire official teaching career in Kokomo Schools.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

I always have enjoyed teaching children and watching them learn new things. I originally wanted to teach Early Childhood/Preschool-aged children, but earned my degree in Elementary Education to have more employment opportunities.

What are your retirement plans?

I plan to enjoy my retirement by relaxing! I am going to spend more time pursuing some personal dreams. I have always loved crafting, sewing dolls, and making things. I am going to try selling some handcrafted items on Etsy and eBay. I also love working with my flowers and my fairy garden. I really enjoy vacationing in Florida. Walking on the beach while collecting shells is one of my favorite things to do. I love visiting Walt Disney World as well. Belle is my favorite princess. I also have five cats who are so happy that I am home more now.

Share with us a favorite story or memory.

My greatest memories are the friendships that I made along the way with both students and adults. I always will be a teacher, whether I am in a classroom or not. I love that I have made a lasting impression on so many students’ lives.

 

Brett Colby is retiring from Kokomo High School, where he was a Physical Education teacher. Brett served Kokomo Schools for 13 years.

What schools have you worked at, and what positions have you held during your teaching career?

I worked at South Newton High School for seven years, where I taught Accounting and U.S. History and was the Head Football Coach. I moved to Frankfort High School in 1997; I taught Business Law, Accounting, and Intro to Business, and was the Head Football Coach, for 11 years. I began my career at Kokomo High School in 2007, where I taught U.S. History, World Geography, Weight Training, and Physical Education for 13 years. I also was the Head Football Coach for 10 years.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

My father was in education, and his influence helped shape my future. My father was an administrator for more than 30 years. I chose to stay in the classroom, so I could coach. I coached football, wrestling, and track.

What are your retirement plans?

In my retirement I plan to help Austin Coach, and be a good assistant coach like my father was for me for 27 years. I also hope to babysit my grandchildren (if I ever have any). My daughters-in-law are high achievers. Hannah is preparing for her medical residency in Columbus, Ohio, where she will become an OBGYN. Anh just completed her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. She and Cameron are located in Durham, North Carolina.

Do you have any additional information you wish to share about yourself or your career?

I love to travel!

Share with us a favorite story or memory.

My favorite memory was making a great run in football in 2017. I was proud to represent Kokomo High School as the head coach in the State Championship game during Thanksgiving weekend. Earning a spot in the State Finals had been a lifelong goal of mine. I continue to be so proud of all my assistant coaches and players on that team.

 

Gay Ann Gressman is retiring from Bon Air Middle School, where she was a Special Education teacher. Gay Ann served Kokomo Schools for 20 years.

What schools have you worked at, and what positions have you held during your teaching career?

I began teaching at Lafayette Park in 2000 when I moved to Kokomo from Fort Lauderdale. I was transferred to Central Middle School when Lafayette Park Middle School closed. Two years later, I moved to Bon Air Middle School when it was reopened. I have taught at Bon Air ever since then.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

I always wanted to teach; that was my goal from the beginning.

What are your retirement plans?

I always have participated in Antique Shows, Doll and Toy Shows, and Collectible Shows. I plan to continue that online.

Share with us a favorite story or memory.

I have so many memories!! One of the best was when a student of mine was selected for the Turn-Around award, and when I saw myself on TV. What a GRAND celebration!

 

Gail Hart is retiring from Maple Crest STEM Middle School, where she was a Mathematics teacher. Gail served Kokomo Schools for 27 years.

 

Peggy Hostetler is retiring from the Kokomo Area Career Center, where she was a Health Services teacher.

 

Mary King is retiring from Maple Crest STEM Middle School, where she was an English teacher. Mary served Kokomo Schools for 20 years.

What schools have you worked at, and what positions have you held during your teaching career?

I taught 6th-grade English/Language Arts at Bon Air Middle School and Maple Crest Middle School.

 What year did you begin working for Kokomo Schools?

I began my career at Kokomo Schools in 2000.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

I loved school and sensed that teaching would be the best way for me to make a positive difference in the world.

What are your retirement plans?

I plan to read, write, spend time with family and friends scattered across the country, and keep Grandma’s cookie jar filled!

Share with us a favorite story or memory.

I have special memories of student successes – a Regional Spelling Bee Runner-Up, poetry contest winners, and a Carson Scholarship recipient. I also have fond memories of my own successes, including a Celebrate Literacy Award and Golden Apple Award, Nike Foundation grant recipient, and recipient of other grants. My most cherished and enduring memories, however, are the everyday moments… greeting students at my classroom door, listening to them proudly read their original stories from the “share” chair, helping them find library books, and sitting in a circle and reading a play on a Friday afternoon. I have more than enough of these wonderful memories to last throughout my retirement.

 

David Peters is retiring from the Kokomo Area Career Center, where he was a Building Trades instructor. David served Kokomo Schools for 22 years.

 

Theresa Pollard is retiring from Maple Crest STEM Middle School, where she was a Social Studies teacher. Theresa served Kokomo Schools for 17 years.

 

Cheryl Simmons is retiring from Sycamore International Elementary School, where she was a 5th-grade teacher. Cheryl served Kokomo Schools for 26 years.

 

Michelle Takacs is retiring from Maple Crest STEM Middle School, where she was a Special Education teacher. Michelle served Kokomo Schools for 31 years.

 

Nancy Williams is retiring from Sycamore International Elementary School, where she was an Art teacher. Nancy served Kokomo Schools for 35 years.

 

Classified Retirements

Teresa Clinton is retiring from Bon Air Elementary School, where she was a School Nurse. Teresa served Kokomo Schools for 21 years.

 

Lorraine Ellis is retiring from Transportation, where she was a Bus Driver. Lorraine served Kokomo Schools for 11 years.

 

Ranae Iseminger is retiring from Sycamore International Elementary School, where she was a Cafeteria Manager. Ranae served Kokomo Schools for 29.5 years.

 

Vickie Ruble is retiring from Boulevard STEM Elementary School, where she was an Instructional Paraprofessional. Vickie served Kokomo Schools for 32 years.

 

Richard Sears is retiring from Kokomo High School, where he was a Maintenance Supervisor. Richard served Kokomo Schools for 22.5 years.

 

Christine Stout is retiring from Transportation, where she was a Bus Aide. Christine served Kokomo Schools for 24 years.

 

Lowell Wiggins is retiring from Kokomo High School, where he was the swimming pool operator. Lowell served Kokomo Schools for 22 years.

 

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