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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Devoted people work in our schools

  • I read with interest the article concerning the Leavenworth School Board's last meeting and their residency discussion for the school administration.
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  • To the editor:
    I read with interest the article concerning the Leavenworth School Board's last meeting and their residency discussion for the school administration. It seems as though the present policy has mostly occurred the last 4 or 5 years. I completed 50 years of teaching last May and 40 of those years have been in Leavenworth. In 1970, I was fortunate to be hired by Frank Kukuk and beagan teaching at Ben Day School.
    Ben Day was absolutely the most incredible principal in all of my 50 years. He was compassionate, caring, and totally connected with parents, students and teachers.
    At one time, he was principal of two schools. It was before sophisticated technology, I-Pads and Smart phones. Imagine that!
    For the past 40 years, I have observed, for the most part, competent, dedicated and knowledgeable administrators, which includes principals and central office personnel. I'm sure those individuals would find it curious that they were not considered to be the "best of the best" as many lived in the Leavenworth area or actually relocated here. They bought or rented houses, paid taxes, and made Leavenworth their home. There are few places that can compare with Gronis hardware, Curt at Advantage Printing, the Brown Bear store that prints fabulous shirts logos, the unique Corner Pharmacy and the beautiful arrangements made by the Land of Oz – just to name a few. Of course, it is just not the business places. Every time I drive past the house on the corner of Thornton and 2nd Avenue, I have to smile and wonder how long it takes to place all of those whimsical and creative items in their yard. Sometimes, we just have to pay attention and think about where we are in our life and appreciate where we live.
    I'm sure there are exceptions for some administrators living elsewhere, however, most administrators in the surrounding school districts live in the area where they are employed. In the past, top administrators and even school board members sometimes visited the schools. I haven't seen that lately.
    I remember we have had some wonderful school board members who were advocates of both teachers and students.
    One time Wayne Shehorn traveled all the way to Oklahoma to research a reading program to ensure it was appropriate for our Leavenworth schools.
    Ed Chapman was always questioning policies, just so he could be objective.
    Then of course, Lonnie Dougherty asways said, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Lately, questions only seem to be asked by Nancy Klemp and Loyal Torkelson.
    We don't yet know about the three new board members.
    Visiting schools is always a way to connect with school personnel and interact with students.
    That's why now I volunteer at schools. Most teachers, paras, secretaries, nurses, custodians and principals are dedicated, caring, hard working individuals. I see "first hand" the reality of every day school life – without the background music.
    Page 2 of 2 - Someone once said that the farther one is away from a reality situation, the more difficult it is to understand that situation.
    Almost all individuals working in any school just hope to make a difference in a student's life.
    Years (and years) ago, when I was student teaching, my gifted master teacher told me to remember this: People will not always remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. I suppose I'm hopelessly "old school", but I will always believe kindness and caring is forever timeless.
    So the next time you pass a school, please remember all of the devoted people that work there. Better yet, volunteer.

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