Lawrence school district celebrates careers of retirees

Karen Cochran, of West Junior High, left, and Tom Christie, a Lawrence school district administrator, greet each other Wednesday at Southwest Junior High during a recognition ceremony for retiring school employees.

Susan Ralston is 99.9 percent finished with her career.

“I figure I’ve taught 7,000 days in the classroom, and I have six to go,” said Ralston, who is retiring this month after 38 years in teaching, including 22 years as the vocal music teacher at Schwegler School.

Ralston was one of more than 30 retiring school district employees honored Wednesday afternoon during a ceremony at Southwest Junior High School, 2511 Inverness Drive. The retirees hugged co-workers and swapped stories with friends before the ceremony as an orchestra ensemble from the junior high played string music in the background.

“This group of people represent hundreds of years of experience in the school district,” Superintendent Randy Weseman said.

Ralston said her years working for the Lawrence schools have been “wonderful,” but that she’s at peace with not having to put on another school-music program. She plans to stay active with community choirs after retirement.

Phyllis Anderson, who is retiring from Kennedy School and who taught second grade most recently, is looking forward to spending more time with her three grandchildren.

“It’s bittersweet because I will really miss the kids and I’ll really miss my staff members, but I’ll enjoy having some rest and energy,” she said.

The ceremony also honored retiring board members, teachers who have achieved 25 years of experience, and winners of annual teaching and “Outstanding Citizen” awards.

Award recipients and retiring staff

The Lawrence School District on Wednesday honored the following award recipients and retirees:

¢ Outstanding Citizen awards: Susan Krumm and Janelle Martin.

¢ Master Teacher Award: Ron Garvin, South Junior High School.

¢ Elementary Teacher of the Year: Lynn Heffley, Pinckney School.

¢ Secondary Teacher of the Year: Ron Lang, Lawrence High School.

¢ Horizon Awards: Amanda Bayens, Pinckney; Emilie Block, Southwest Junior High.

¢ Outgoing school board members: Sue Morgan, Leonard Ortiz and Cindy Yulich.

¢ Retiring staff members: Linda Allen, LHS; Lynda L. Allen, districtwide; Carol Alvarez, West Junior High School; Phyllis Anderson, Kennedy School; Barbara Anderson, LHS; Alan Brummell, Schwegler School; Lynn Burlingham, West Junior High; Lori Cackler, Prairie Park School; Sharon Carlson, Pinckney; Tom Christie, districtwide; Sandy Clanton, Wakarusa Valley School; Karen Cochran, West; Sandee Crowther, districtwide; Juanita Decker, districtwide; Susan DeVore, Kennedy; Peggy Dey, districtwide; Sherry Eales, LHS; Kenna Frankenfeld, Pinckney and Cordley schools; Ron Garvin, South; Debra Green, LHS; Nancy Hardman, Hillcrest School; Roxana Hausman, districtwide; Carlotta Hemphill, South; Linda Joler, Free State High School; Ron Lang, LHS; Darlene Miller, Central Junior High; Sondra Mosley, Central; Janice Nicklaus, districtwide; Janet Olin, Central; Susan Phenix, Central; Susan Ralston, Schwegler; Maxine Roachell, districtwide; Jacque Shipstead, Sunflower; Jim Siebert, West; Caroll Steacy, Schwegler; Cheryl Stoffer, LHS; Paulette Strong, Quail Run School; Sharon Thibodeau, districtwide; Linda Williams, Quail Run; Catherine Williams, Prairie Park.