Retiring teachers, staff honored by ASD

The Arlington School District retirees for 2007, from left, front row, Mary Carey, Ralph Shull, Jerry Christine and Linda Case. From left, back row, Howard Knoepfle, Jim Kjargaard, Fred Johnson and Elizabeth Martinez. -
The Arlington School District retirees for 2007, from left, front row, Mary Carey, Ralph Shull, Jerry Christine and Linda Case. From left, back row, Howard Knoepfle, Jim Kjargaard, Fred Johnson and Elizabeth Martinez.
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ARLINGTON More than 330 cumulative years of service to the education of children were recognized by the Arlington School District June 13, when school district students, families, colleagues and community members gathered at Haller Middle School to pay tribute to 12 district teachers and staff members who are retiring at the end of this school year.
Thats a tremendous amount of experience that were losing, said Arlington School District Superintendent Linda Byrnes. Its tough to see them go, but they could have chosen any number of other professions, so we thank them for choosing education.
Sue Webber spent nine of her 30 years in education at the Stillaguamish Valley School, where she was first hired as a German language teacher, before taking on the additional duties of a student learning plan teacher. SVH Principal Ed Aylesworth praised her sense of humor, her professionalism and her love of the children.
Pioneer Elementary Principal Karl Olson jokingly chided reading teacher Mary Carey for retiring after 25 years, noting that theyd promised to retire at the same time. Olson added that, in Careys 22 years in the Arlington School District, shes taught reading recovery, LAP and remedial reading at all of its elementary schools.
She always finds solutions, said Olson, who touted Careys strengths at addressing parents concerns and getting their children excited about learning.
Eagle Creek Elementary fifth-grade teacher Linda Case and custodian Ralph Shull were recognized by ECE Principal Denise Putnam. Shull started his 13 years at the ASD as a substitute custodian, while Cases 26 years in education began with a stint as a leave replacement. Putnam pointed out that Cases entire teaching career has been in fifth-grade, in Arlington.
Anyone whos taught fifth-grade knows how amazing that is, Putnam said. As for Ralph, he was our clock-watcher, but in a good way. He was always on time, and whenever our teachers stayed too late, hed tell them, Isnt it time you went home to see your families?
Cynthia Harrison, the speech and language pathologist that ECE shared with Kent Prairie Elementary, was unable to attend the retirement ceremony, but Kent Prairie Principal Kathy Engell had already conducted a separate retirement ceremony for Harrison, commending her for her 37 years in education, which she began as a communication disorders specialist with a starting salary of $6,660.
Cynthia Drinkwater, who spent 10 of her 12 years in education with ASD, was honored for her service as a special education teacher, while Susan Ellington-Reith, a fifth-grade teacher at Presidents Elementary, earned the distinction of also teaching grades one through four, over the course of her 28 years with ASD.
Haller Middle School Principal Eric DeJong spoke on behalf of Arlington High School special education teacher Fred Johnson, Haller science teacher Jim Kjargaard and Haller math teacher Howard Knoepfle, all three of whom were hired by the district Sept. 6, 1977.
Johnson, who was hired as a leave replacement, has also coached wrestling, track, intramurals and golf, as well as teaching drivers ed. Kjargaard has always taught science and math at the middle school level, but put in three years as a science teacher in Australia before coming to Arlington. Knoepfle taught for a year in British Columbia before being hired to teach industrial arts by ASD, and he has taught math and drafting at both middle schools.
Their wisdom stabilized me and helped me grow, DeJong said.
As she retired from eight years in the ASD and more than 24 in education, AHS math teacher Elizabeth Martinez was described as subdued but diligent and supportive by AHS Principal Kurt Criscione.
Shes not a cheerleader, Criscione said. She works behind the scenes. You wouldnt expect her to be a risk-taker, but she took risks every day on behalf of her students. Shes a calming influence and a problem-solver, and I dont know how well replace her.
Presidents Elementary Principal Terri Anderson speculated that teacher Jerry Christine works so well with his students because he knew what it was like to be a naughty child himself. At the same time, she emphasized that the 36-year veteran of education always set high standards for his students.
He helped them succeed, Anderson said of Christine, who was hired as a sixth-grade teacher in 1980, but has taught fifth-grade since 1990, in addition to coaching basketball, track and intramurals. Were honored that he chose to share this part of his life with us.

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