Salute to retiring teachers continues

Congratulations to retiring Greene County Community School District staff

This is the second in a series of questions and answers with the 11 staff retiring from the Greene County Community School District (GCCSD). ~ by Lora Koch, The Scranton Journal

Sherri Schwaller
Sherri Schwaller

SHERRI SCHWALLER, kindergarten teacher: Sherri Schwaller of Jefferson has worked for GCCSD fulltime since 1992, and was a substitute teacher for six years prior. Most recently, she taught kindergarten, and she previously taught third grade. Schwaller also taught GED classes at the Jefferson public library and elementary school for 14 years. 

She is married to Steve Schwaller, owner of Royal Jewelers in Jefferson, and they have two grown children, one granddaughter, and four “grand puppies.”

Prior to Jefferson, Schwaller taught reading enrichment in Fort Dodge for three years, and kindergarten in Elkhorn, WI, for three years.

What did you like best about your most recent position? My students! I have a class from heaven. They are the best kids I could ask for. They are so eager to learn, kind, polite, and a real joy to work with every day!

What will you miss the most about your job once you are retired? I will miss the contacts with my co-workers, the students, and the rest of the staff. They are such a bright spot in my life!

What is a favorite school memory to share? There are too many to single out one, but I will never forget all of the hugs my students and I have shared over the years. I often wonder what memories the children carry with them.

What are your plans and dreams for your retirement years? I plan to spend more time with my granddaughter and at a cabin at Blackhawk Lake. My house could also use a top to bottom cleaning and pitching party. As you might suspect, teachers can be pack rats and I’ve been one of those (never know when that might come in handy for a lesson).

Anything else you would like to add? I’m very proud to have been a part of our school system. We strive to offer a quality education and we’re not afraid of change.

Dave Bohnet
Dave Bohnet

DAVID BOHNET, Middle school social studies teacher/coach: David Bohnet has been with the district for 26 years, most recently as an eighth grade social studies teacher. He also taught seventh and eighth grade English, seventh grade literature, and coached various levels of football, basketball and baseball. He also taught for seven years in Everly, home of the Cattlefeeders.

Bohnet and his wife Luann live in Jefferson. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

What did you like best about your most recent position? I have enjoyed collaborating with community members. My students have worked with the Greene County Museum staff and visitors, Greene County Medical Centerl long-term care staff and residents, and Regency Park staff and residents. The students, by volunteering their time, have seen how much they can enrich other people’s lives.

What will you miss the most about your job once you are retired? I have always valued the positive relationships with students, parents, and staff. Those memories are what are most precious. I was very fortunate to work with many people that I respect and are very dear friends. I also coached with some tremendous people who taught me so much over the years. To name these people would be difficult, as the list would be too long. I would like to thank each of these individuals, and intend to do so, when I see them.

Anything else you would like to add? I would like to thank the community of Greene County, students, former students, parents, and colleagues. It has been fun! My first career is over and I am looking forward to starting my second career. I will miss my students. As a Minnesota Vikings, Twins and Iowa Hawkeye fan, I will attend games with family and friends. Being a husband, Dad, and “Papa” will occupy a majority of my time.

Jane Wampler
Jane Wampler

JANE WAMPLER, special education associate: Jane Wampler has been with the school system for more than 26 years, starting as a Chapter 1 associate and most recently as a special education associate. Previously, she was a volunteer at the Scranton school.

A resident of Jefferson, Wampler has two children who live with their families in Scranton and four grandchildren.

What is a favorite school memory to share? My favorite memory would be working with the staff at the Scranton building. We were like a family in a small community.

What will you miss the most about your job once you are retired? I will miss the most the dear friends that I have made over the years.

What are your plans and dreams for your retirement years? My plans after retirement are to spend more time with my grandchildren and possibly do some traveling.

Janice Johnston
Janice Johnston

JANICE JOHNSTON, pre-kindergarten teacher: Janice Johnston has been with the district for 33 years fulltime, plus three years as a substitute teacher. She has held a wide range of positions, most recently teaching Head Start pre-kindergarten and district 3-year olds. Johnston has also taught reading for grades second through fifth, Title reading for grades second to seventh, plus first grade and fifth grade. Prior to teaching in Greene County, Johnston was reading teacher at King Elementary in Des Moines.

A resident of Rippey, she and her husband Ned have three adult children – two sons who live nearby and a daughter who teaches in Abuja, Nigeria.

What did you like best about your most recent position? I enjoy talking, reading, and singing with youngsters. Some students are learning to talk and growing their vocabulary and some are learning to write letters and words. Every day there is a reason to celebrate and congratulate them on their efforts to grow.

What will you miss most about your job once you are retired? I’ll miss talking with children every day, hearing their honest opinions and their reflections about what they know and understand. I’ll miss them dressing up and pretending and their stories and drawings.

What is a favorite school memory to share? I enjoyed accompanying on piano for Jim Oatts’ students as they prepared for solo contests and vocal concerts. He would patiently sing their parts or play his trumpet to help them learn rhythms and confidence to perform.

I also remember preparing and playing piano for fifth graders with Gail Peckumn’s class as we performed Electric Sunshine Man. They were little kids, but it felt like Broadway because they danced their best and sang their hearts out. We used all sorts of Charlie Tipton’s science materials from the “rat room” to create a remarkable laboratory setting. Mr. Tipton had aquariums of fish, snakes, frogs, and turtles in his science room and he taught me everything I needed to know about rocks for my geology unit.

Carson Griffith’s concerts were memorable as well, when the Rippey gym was packed with dressed up kids and families. Jan Durlam and Susan Wernli were the preschool teachers who taught me so much. I learned more from so many other dedicated teachers, custodians, librarians, bus drivers, nurses, administrators, and cooks who loved kids and were passionate about teaching them.

What are your plans and dreams for your retirement years? I will help farm, sew and market my wool mittens, spend time with family, and be active in my church.

Anything else you would like to add? I want to thank the community and all the families for the privilege of teaching their children. They taught me that I can learn anything with fun practice, and smiling and helping others makes each day enjoyable.

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