Caldwell schools lose millennium of experience

Jun. 18, 2014 @ 06:32 AM

Lorrie Spencer, a teacher from Collettsville Elementary School, put it best when summing up how she shall spend her free time now that she is retiring after nearly 26 years in the classroom.

“In retirement, I plan to continue tending gardens, only gardens of a different type,” Spencer said. “I will no longer be a gardener of third-graders, who need love and nurturing in order to grow and blossom, but rather roses and vegetables shall be in my garden.”

Spencer and 43 other teachers and staff members from 19 Caldwell County schools were recognized Tuesday at the Annual Retiree Luncheon for their years of service to the school system. Combined, the retirees have 1,015 years of service. Dr. Trish Johnson, associate superintendent of human resources, said the schools saw two phenomena this year.

“I know that in some places some interesting things are happening,” Johnson said. “At one school, we have teachers who are retiring, and they have children who are coming up in their footsteps and entering the field of education, . . . and I think that’s a wonderful legacy to share with them. I think at one of our high schools we are losing over 100 years from one school in service to citizens of Caldwell County."

“It leaves a great void that we have to fill. We’re glad that we have daughters and sons who are coming up to fill those very big shoes left by parents, and we hope that you will nurture and continue to encourage them in their lives,” Johnson said.

As each teacher or staff member was recognized, Johnson read a paragraph of what the retiree planned to do with his or her free time. Some had grand aspirations like learning to play guitar or the piano, teaching a dog agility training, visiting Scotland, taking a cruise in Alaska, moving to Nashville and planning a daughter’s wedding. But all of these adventures aside, most of the lists sounded very similar: tending the garden, cleaning the house, painting the living room, spending time with the grandchildren and sleeping in.