Plymouth schools say goodbye to retiring faculty, staff

The Plymouth School District bid farewell to a number of faculty and staff who retiried at the end of the school year. Together they had 349 years of service to the district.

Katie Rortvedt

Years with district: 33 years

Current title: Fifth-grade teacher at Riverview Middle School

Career: I taught 1 year in Milwaukee and the remaining years have been here in Plymouth, where I have taught at Fairview, Cascade, Parkview and Riverview.

Favorite memories: The students and staffs are what have made these years so enjoyable. My special memories with my students are numerous and too hard to choose from, as to which ones were favorites. I will always carry them in my heart. The sparkly eyes, smiles and the hugs are what I will always hold near and dear. No doubt, I made the best career choice!!!

Plans for retirement: My plan is to relax, spend time with family and friends, get some order back into my household, and reflect back on this career. Then I will decide what my next journey will be!

Mary Schmidt

Years with district: 33

Current title: Third-grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School

Career: Eau Claire-Special Education Middle School, 1972; Fredonia( Ozaukee District) 3rd Grade and then Title One Reading and Math Program, 1973-1979; Plymouth-Riverview Middle School-Title One Reading Teacher, 1980-1982; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade at Fairview and Parkview, 1983-2013. I also taught special reading and math and creative dramatics in Plymouth’s Summer School.

Favorite memories: I remember two memorable incidents my first year teaching third grade in Fredonia. The first involved a pig’s head. One little boy asked if he could bring in something for science class, a kind of show and tell. I said of course, anything in the name of science would be wonderful. When it came time to share, the dear little heart opened his bag and brought out a pig’s skull, Evidently his family had hosted a pig roast over the weekend and he shared the head, unbleached, full of remnants and all. Needless to say it was a very quick share and back into the bag it went. I reminded him to take his treasure home and that was that. Or so I thought. We had a long holiday weekend and the following Tuesday I walked into school and smelled a very foul odor. I thought to myself, boy, some rodent must have died in the heating vents. The closer I got to my room the stronger the odor became. I opened my door and there on the counter was the bag containing the skull. The boy had forgotten it. It took a long while to air out the building. I was a little more careful about the show and tell in the future.

One other time I had talked to the children about how classroom jobs can teach responsibility. All the children took turns doing their jobs. One particular time, little Kenny diligently worked at his job of sink scrubber. We were all so excited about a vacation break coming up. On return from break I started walking down the hall toward my room and noticed a huge puddle of water in the center of the hall. I wondered if there had been a heavy rain and now the roof leaked. But of course the closer I got to my classroom I saw that the puddle was coming from my room. I opened my door to a flooded classroom. Kenny had forgotten to unstop the sink and the faucet drip, drip, dripped all vacation long. I’m surprised that I still was allowed to continue teaching after that.

Plans for retirement: According to my students I will do the following: rest, exercise, garden, camp, go fishing (I’m not sure where that one came from), substitute teach, and spend lots of time with my family and friends, have fun and celebrate. They all sound like wonderful suggestions to me.

Sandy Scudella

Years with district: 33 (34 total as an educator)

Current title: Elementary music teacher

Career: 1979-80 School District of Westfield - 3 schools of Grades K-8 General Music and Choir; 1980-2013 Plymouth School District - PHS, Fairview, Parnell, Cascade, Horizon & Parkview Schools

Favorite memories: Each school to which I've been assigned has provided much joy and happiness. I've had the great pleasure of working with dedicated staff, wonderful parents and enthusiastic children throughout the district. It's been an honor and a privilege to have participated in the lives of so many children!

Plans for retirement: I will continue to be a full-time musician, singing and playing at church and performing for special events, and I look forward to returning to doing more accompaniment work.

Barbara Thaldorf

Years with district: 32 years

Current title: Second-grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School Career (i.e. where taught and when): I started my teaching career at Parkview and never left. (I know a good thing when I see it!)

Favorite memories: My favorite memories will be of the wonderful students, families, and co-workers I had the pleasure of getting to know over the years.

Plans for retirement: My plan for retirement is to live each day to the fullest with family and friends.

Loretta Goodlet

Years with district: 26 years

Current title: Special education teacher’s aide at Parkview Elementary School Career: I began with the Lightfoot School in October 1983. I was hired to fill an ED position at Riverview in Plymouth. I worked there for 1 year. Wow, what a learning experience for a brand new teachers aide. Next I worked for 1 year at the Waldo school with ED children. Truly an enjoyable experience and great teaching staff. My last 28 years have been spent working with the awesome staff and children of Parkview School.

Favorite memories: I have many wonderful memories.

Plans for retirement: I look forward to retirement. My plans are simple: enjoy each day!

I thank God for all the blessings I have received over the past 30 years. Thanks to Plymouth School District.

Faye Hughes

Years with district: 26 years

Current title: Elementary school counselor

Career: I taught in Cedarburg for 13 years as a kindergarten teacher and school counselor. My first position was in Pulaski for 1 year as a first-grade teacher.

Favorite memories: Where to begin? I think the most endearing thing about children is the way they express themselves. Whether they are happy, excited, silly, angry, hurt or worried – they have a magnificent way of letting their thoughts be known.

Plans for retirement: I plan to be a Lunch Buddy, read a lot of books, take some classes, travel, walk the dog, volunteer, be with family and friends. Oh, and paint some bedrooms, make new recipes and really clean the closets and the basement!

Thanks to the Plymouth Community for being supportive of public education!

Chris Kline

Years with district: 25 years

Current title: Special education teacher aide at Parkview Elementary School

Benjamin White

Years with district: 25 (34 years total as an educator)

Current title: Cross-categorical special education teacher at Fairview Elementary School

Career: Within the Plymouth School District, I have taught at Fairview, Horizon, Cascade and Parkview. Before coming to Plymouth I worked for Lightfoot School and taught there and at Sheboygan Falls Middle School. I started my teaching career 34 years ago in the small community of Gresham.

Favorite memories: I have always enjoyed the first day of school with the students and teachers eagerly awaiting a new adventure with the highest hopes and aspirations for a successful school year. I will fondly remember coteaching the book “The Wizard of Oz” with Mrs. Paulson. We spent way too much time on the book; we even created a yellow brick road. Seeing my granddaughter at school will always be a cherished memory.

Plans for retirement: Time with family, reading, crossword puzzles and “Que Sera Sera.”

Chris Walvoord

Years with district: 22 years Current title: Second-grade teacher at Parkview Elementary School

Career: Began teaching in 1990, subbed for one year at area schools, taught at Cascade School for 18 years, organized and taught Upward Bound (Cascade's multiage summer school program) for 10 years, taught at Parkview for 4 years.

Favorite memories: "Traveling" to Australia with my class on Imagination Airlines, having a working Post Office in my classroom, studying about and adopting many whales over the years, our annual "Pet" shows, transforming my classroom into a campground (Camp-Learned-A Lot) during the last month of school each year, the many books my students have written, illustrated and "published," all of the learning and laughter with my great students, their wonderful families and the incredible people I have had the pleasure to work with over the years.

Plans for retirement: Spending more time with my children and grandchildren, traveling with my husband, reading as much as possible, learning new things and relearning what I forgot, finding a new hobby, and occasionally subbing at Parkview.

Anita Williams

Years with district: 22 years

Current title: Kindergarten teacher at Fairview Elementary School

Stephan Kiszely

Years with district: 19 years

Current title: Social studies teacher at Plymouth High School

Sue Williamson

Years with district: 19 years

Current title: School psychologist

Career: My career started in New York, where I worked in two suburban school districts on Long Island before embarking on an 11- year journey as a school psychologist serving alongside social workers and educational evaluators on School Based Support Teams within New York City. In addition to our daytime placements, many of us also worked evening and weekend hours at various districts ranging from Far Rockaway to “da Bronx”! We had many children to help and that was so rewarding … we also had many miles of “assertive driving” in order to get to some of the far-reaching locations within NYC in 20 minutes in order to be “on time”; and that explains some of the driving habits I needed to shed when I arrived in Wisconsin! In 1994, I married my wonderful husband, Sam, and moved to Fond du Lac; Sam had subscribed to the Jobs periodical from DPI during our engagement (nothing was “on line” in those days!) and found Plymouth’s posting for a full-time K-12 School Psychologist. I still remember how thrilled I was when I was hired … and I can honestly say that the past 19 years have truly been wonderful, especially because of the staff, the students and the families I’ve been so fortunate to meet and work with.

Favorite memories: Among my favorite memories involve working closely with my colleagues as part of a multi-disciplinary team at Riverview on DPI systems change grant opportunities that we received from 1999- 2007. Professionally, we experienced the necessary autonomy to apply new learning from outside conferences and develop our own action research designed to help students. Along the way, we also achieved a wonderful sense of belonging within the school culture and with parents, as well as the chance to develop these new skills and competencies … all of which are invaluable for professionals whose aim is to help more students succeed. Finally, I want to say that I’m so very fortunate to have realized while working here how lucky I was to be a part of Plymouth … I have met life-long friends here as well as so many children and families that I will never forget.

Plans for retirement: I’ve had the pleasure of working 19 years within the Plymouth School District as a school psychologist … and now it’s time to retire and begin another chapter to include more time to read, relax and travel with my husband!

Eileen Brooks

Years with district: 18 years

Current title: Vocal music instructor at Riverview Middle School

Career: I started in the Elkhart Lake School District teaching middle school and high school vocal music from 1973-1984; Plymouth School District-After several years of teaching extra music classes and long-term subbing, was hired to teach general music at Parkview Elementary School from 1995- 2008, moved to Riverview Middle School to become the vocal music instructor, 2008-2013.

Favorite memories: All the concerts and musicals, the smiling faces, and the special people that I have had the opportunity to work with.

Plans for retirement: Enjoying family time

Marlyn Hahn

Years with district: 16 years Current title: Horticulture teacher at Plymouth High School

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