District retirees logged more than 200 years of experience

Posted 5/13/21

Building administrators addressed the trustees of the Park County School District 1 Tuesday at the regular meeting. They spoke about the staff members in their buildings who were …

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District retirees logged more than 200 years of experience

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Building administrators addressed the trustees of the Park County School District 1 Tuesday at the regular meeting. They spoke about the staff members in their buildings who were retiring. 

Vicky Coy retired as an instructional facilitator, a job she held for four years after 32 years in the classroom. 

“Vicky is the exemplar of a master teacher,” said Westside Elementary School Principal Angie Woyak. “She has taught more than 600 students in the first grade in her 32 years of teaching.” 

Woyak also talked about Deb Spiker, who had been a special education paraeducator for 24 years at Westside. Woyak said Spiker was a true scholar of the arts of learning and teaching.

It was much the same for Julie Sheets, a third grade teacher at Parkside Elementary School. Sheets taught at the school for 30 years, always retaining the same classroom.

Parkside principal Jason Hilman had a hard time controlling his emotions as he spoke about his retirees.

He noted that “a whole generation of Powell students had Julie [Sheets] for a teacher,” and that everyone in the community, if asked, would reply, “I just love Mrs. Sheets.” Sheets said she was leaving with a mixture of gratitude and pride for her time at Parkside.

Hillman also spoke about Lynn Jackson, who is leaving after 19 years at Parkside and 21 years teaching. He said Jackson had a personal touch and was an educator of the greatest integrity.

“Her kids know she loves them,” he said.

Powell High School principal Tim Wormald talked at length about what an integral part of the school Jan Castro was, serving as a member of the support staff for 30 years.

“Jan is one of the most consistent workers I have ever met,” Wormald said. When he was the athletic director, he recalled going down to the gym to set it up for an upcoming game, only to find Castro had already accomplished the task.

“She just jumped in and did it,” he said.  

Bonnie Bruce was a special education paraeducator for 21 years at the high school. Wormald said Bruce had the special gift of being able to reach kids who others thought were beyond reaching, Wormald said.

Sue Skalsky is also retiring from the high school after 27 years as an administrative assistant.

“She allows me to think I have a little influence sometimes,” Wormald quipped, saying he had no idea what he was going to do when he could no longer answer a question with, “Go ask Sue.”

Sherri Simpson is leaving the central offices after 15 years there as an administrative assistant. Rob McCray, support services coordinator, said it was amazing to see so many support personnel who had been in the district for such a long time.

“It says a lot about the district,” he said. McCray talked about working with Simpson, her positive attitude and cheerful disposition.

“She rode for the PCSD1 brand every day,” he said. 

Woyak returned to the podium to laud Mark Lynn. She said Lynn, who had been the building custodian, was called to serve people. He was a Powell police officer, a school resource officer, a paraeducator and now, custodian. She pointed out Lynn knew every student by name. When a pupil was having a tough time, Lynn could talk with the child and his kind, firm, understanding manner would often make the difference.

When the presentations were complete, board of trustees chairman Trace Paul said, “Doing a little quick math in my head here, these educators and support personnel represent more than 210 years of experience leaving the district.”

Each retiree was presented with a plaque or a brass bell, depending on how they had served the district during their careers.

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