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Arlington School District honors retiring employees
ARLINGTON — More than 278 years of combined education experience will be leaving the Arlington School District this June.
On April 26, the School Board recognized the hard work of the retiring staff members — some of which have been with the district for more than 30 years.
Retiring staff include Carol Albright, Cheryl Allen, Reiko Aoki, Susan Chandler, Carol Masten, Patty Chatterton, Shirley Hollingsworth, Mary Lavelle, Janet Mustered, Shirley Neighbors, Pam Riley and Katharine Shoemaker.
Albright, a special education teacher at Kent Prairie Elementary School, has spent the past 25 years in education.
After teaching in California and in Vancouver, Wash., Albright came to Arlington in 1994. In addition to her work at Kent Prairie, Albright has taught at Eagle Creek, Pioneer and Trafton.
She plans to spend time with her family, including her grandchildren, upon retiring.
"At every school the staff has enjoyed having Ms. Albright as part of the their team, and Carol has loved each school, staff and students," said Shirley Case, director of personnel for the district. "She never wanted to leave a school, but she quickly became a valued participating member at the next."
Allen has worked in career and technical education at Arlington High School since 1987.
Although the curriculum and teaching strategies have changed throughout the past 30 years, Allen has always been at the cutting edge, Case said.
Allen has created new courses at the school, including Careers in Education, and has always stayed current with the latest computer assisted drafting programs.
"Cheryl has been an integral part of the CTE program at the high school and will be missed by the staff and her students," Case said.
Aoki started in the district in 2001, and has commuted from Bellevue to Arlington every day to teach Japanese.
When she first began, Aoki worked at three buildings — Post, Stillaguamish Valley School and the high school.
Aoki's program at the high school eventually grew to a full-time position.
Aoki has also continued her education since working for the school — she just completed last fall a three-credit course at Seattle Pacific University.
Chandler has helped open four different Arlington schools during her 31 years in the district.
She started her career in 1979, coming from the Everett School District, and during her time she's worked at Arlington Intermediate, Eagle Creek, Kent Prairie and Pioneer Elementary schools as a fourth-grade teacher.
"She has been a leader in every school and an exemplary teacher, with students always being the focus," Case said.
Chandler also helped create a tile project near the fountain on Division Street, leaving a permanent mark on Arlington.
"She has always been interested in the history of Arlington and has encouraged student interest in the history as well," Case said.
Originally coming from the Mt. Adams School District in White Swan — a town near Yakima — Masten has worked taught a variety of classes at Weston High School since beginning there in 2002.
She's taught language arts for seventh- and eight-graders, ninth-grade English and journalism, leadership and health to seventh- through ninth-graders.
Masten's focus at the school was developing relationships with students, helping students learn about options for completing high school and teaching English.
"Ms. Masten's wonderful, warm and friendly manner is engaging to all staff and students who worked with her," Case said.
Chatterton has worked in the district since 1984, and worked her way up from an assistant secretary to head secretary in the district's special programs.
Case said that her colleagues and supervisors describe Chatterton as always exceeding expectations in her work, exhibiting a friendly demeanor and showing great attention to detail.
"Ms. Chatterton will be missed by many staff and especially at the district office that has enjoyed her professionalism, smile and many wonderful desserts that she shares," Case said.
Hollingsworth has gone from food service substitute at the district to school bus driver — the latter part of her career she's continued since 1978.
When Hollingsworth started as a bus driver, she earned $5 per hour. Although her pay has changed over the years, Hollingsworth has been a staple in her routes.
Case estimates that she drove approximately 23,000 miles per year with students — a total of more than 300,000 miles — and has even driven the past 14 years on the same route.
"Ms. Hollingsworth develops a friendly, warm relationship with her students and the families on her route," Case said. "(She) has a wonderful safe driving record over the past 32 years. Driving a bus with 40 to 60 elementary or secondary students can be a challenge, especially as your back is turned to students."
Case added that Hollingsworth has done this with skill and kindness.
Lavelle has worked with the district since 1992 when she started as a food service director for a food management company, and became district food service director in 1998.
Lavelle's budget rarely runs in the red ink category, Case said, adding that she has had a strong focus on nutritional requirements for children.
"Ms. Lavelle is looking forward to spending more time with her family and not listening to the 4:30 a.m. alarm," Case said.
Mustered began working in the high school's copy center in August 1994. Four years later she was the school-to-career coordinator for Arlington High School.
Case said that Mustered is a quiet and organized individual, and has maintained wonderful contacts within the Arlington community so students can complete job shadows.
"This has become a positive public relations outlet for our district," Case said. "All the staff and the hundreds of students she has impacted over the years will miss Ms. Mustered."
Neighbors, who is retiring from teaching second grade at Presidents Elementary, came to the Arlington School District in 1989.
Before teaching at Presidents, she substituted at in the Everett, Lake Stevens, Mukilteo, Marysville and Arlington school districts.
She also developed and ran a preschool for five years before working in Arlington, where she continued to develop her teaching skills and strategies over the years, Case said.
"She has been a great mentor to teachers that are new to the district," Case said. "Our students have benefitted greatly from her teaching and professionalism."
Neighbors plans to continue riding her motorcycle and spending time with her family members after she retires.
Riley has worked as a counselor at Arlington High School since 1999.
Before her time in the district, she worked as a counselor and teacher for an alternative high school in the North Kitsap School District.
In addition to serving as a counselor in Arlington, Riley has worked in the school-to-work program and has helped with career guidance for students.
"Ms. Riley loved working at Arlington High School 'with terrific students, staff and in the great town of Arlington itself,'" Case said.
Riley said her experiences will be warmly remembered.
Shoemaker has been with the Arlington School District since 1987, and has worked Eagle Creek, Kent Prairie and most recently Pioneer since it opened in 2002.
Before coming to Arlington, Shoemaker taught across the country and the world. She's worked in California, Sitka, Alaska, Pago Pago in American Somoa and in British Columbia, Canada.
Additionally, she's attended the University of Denver, the University of Washington, Central Washington University, the University of Hawaii, Seattle Pacific University, Whitworth University and the University of Alaska.
The fourth-grade teacher has become an integral part of education in the Arlington community, Case said.
"She was a part of many communities within the district such as being a mentor, (working) on the district instructional council and instructional council representative for many years," Case said.
Shoemaker plans to spend more time with her family and pursue her many interest upon retirement.