Retirees have made a lifelong impact on education

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By Ron Benningfield

LaRue County Schools honored six employees, totaling over 138 years of service, at the annual retirement dinner Friday at LaRue County Middle School’s cafeteria.

Karen Williamson, math teacher at LaRue County High School, has 34 years total experience, including 12 at LCHS. 

“I don’t remember all the students that I have taught or all the faculty that I have worked with but my fondest memories are of the love and kindness that has been shown to me by students and faculty,” she said. “Every day and every period is different. I’m never bored. I get the most satisfaction from seeing my students master those math concepts.” 

Her future won’t be boring either, as she plans to volunteer in the math department, serve more in her church, read, exercise and travel.

Peggy Newton, LaRue County’s 2009 Excel Award winner, said her fondest memories are seeing a child come to her at the beginning of the year barely knowing the sounds of alphabet letters and leaving her classroom knowing how to read.

“We are all given gifts; mine has always been teaching and I am satisfied to know I have made a difference in a child’s life,” she said.

Upon retirement, the elementary teacher with 32 years classroom experience plans to spend a lot more time with her parents, four children and two grandchildren.

“My husband Joe and I plan to travel and just spend more time together. I want to get more involved in my church, and even though I’m retired I still want to spend time working with the children at HES,” she said.

Carol Shelton, a LaRue County Middle School science teacher, has 27 years of service.

“I believe that the people who work in the LaRue County schools are some of the best and my fondest memory is when we used to have a water gun fight among the teachers on the last day of school. I can still see Connie Viers chasing Paul Childress, slipping and passing him up sliding on her stomach. I still chuckle whenever I think about that,” Shelton said.

Most satisfying to her is seeing former students who have made a success out of their lives.

“It is always great to see someone who asks, ‘Miss Shelton, do you remember me?’ and then tell me what they remember about our time together and where they are now. It makes me remember why I got into teaching in the first place – to help children be successful,” Shelton said. She’s looking forward to spending time with her family, cross-stitching, and taking walks with her dog.

Charlene Gaddie spent 24 years as a bus driver including 15 year on the Lyons route and the last six as a pre-school driver.

“I’ve driven so long, I find myself transporting children of the children that rode my bus,” she said.

Her most memorable moment was meeting her husband, Larry, at the bus garage. Retirement plans include babysitting her 2-year-old granddaughter.

Sissy Seidl has 14 years experience as a LaRue County bus driver, the last few on the Magnolia route.

“My most memorable moment was taking my first airplane flight when we flew to Little Rock to drive home a new fleet of buses,” said Seidel. “I worked with a great bunch of people.”

She’s spending her free time gardening and fishing.

Don Woolett has 7.5 years’ experience in LaRue County as a bus driver on the Roanoke route.

An ordained minister, he plans to do more evangelistic work. 

“I’ll also do some consulting as I am a certified identity theft management specialist,” he said.