• Ryleigh Murphy

Teachers Retiring from Spring Lake Schools

As you may have heard, we have had some great teachers and staff who have decided to retire this school year. I emailed and interviewed each of the teachers who have decided to retire during/after this school year. I asked them all a few questions each.

First up, we have special education teacher, Barb Wessel. She worked at Spring Lake Public Schools for 20 years as a 5th-6th grade special education teacher. Mrs. Wessel also worked at Ravenna Public schools for 10 years. She spent a total of 30 years teaching special education. She says what made her decision to retire was that she would like to travel more! She plans on visiting her grandchildren who live in Montana more often and plans to pursue some artistic endeavors. Mrs. Wessel says what she will miss most about the Spring Lake community is, “the wonderful students and supportive families that I get to meet each year.” She also says, “The staff at Spring Lake Intermediate School has been like a second family to me, so I will miss the daily fun and friendships we have in this building.” Mrs. Wessel also states that the global pandemic has no influence on her decision to retire. She says, “I have planned for this to be my last year for quite some time.”

Secondly, we have 7th-grade math teacher, Mrs. Doane. She taught 7th-grade math at the Spring Lake Middle School for 25 years. When I asked what made her retire she said, “There are many factors when deciding whether to retire or not. It seems that there are as many reasons to not retire as there are to retire. But, the timing just seemed right for my husband and me.” I then asked what her plan was for after retirement and she said, “I might get a job in another field and I hope to be able to do some volunteering. But, I’m not really sure what my plan is.” Mrs. Doane then says, “I am going to miss Spring Lake Middle School very much. I have spent over half the years of my life coming to this building. I will miss a lot of the day-to-day things. The laughter with the students over silly things, the hallway conversations with my colleagues, seeing Mrs. Brye’s smile in the morning (even if behind a face mask this year), the parents who have partnered with me for their children’s education, and lunchtime with my friends are some of those things. I will also greatly miss being a part of student growth and success. I enjoy watching kids when they have worked hard at something and that light bulb moment when they reach understanding. It is difficult to watch kids struggle, but then to see them come out on the other side, proud of themselves because they put in the hard work, is one of the greatest joys in my teaching. She then writes a message for everyone, “I want to thank the students, staff, and families of Spring Lake for being my home away from home for the past 25 years. It has been a blessing to work here in Spring Lake. While I am moving on to the next chapter for my life, Spring Lake will always hold a special place in my heart.” Mrs. Doane says the global pandemic has no influence on her decision to retire.

Next, 6th-grade teacher Mr. Kelly has decided to retire. He taught 6th grade for 26 years. Mr. Kelly says he will miss the incredible teachers that he worked with as well as the students. When I asked what his plan for after retirement was, he responded, “I’m planning on focusing on my woodworking business and traveling around the country doing art and craft shows.” Even though retiring has been on Mr. Kelly's mind these past few years, COVID-19 helped Mr. Kelly make his decision easier. He says, “Both my parents had Covid earlier this year and though they’ve recovered, my dad is in need of help every day with normal daily activities. I felt that it was my responsibility as his son to be there for him when he needs me.”

Lastly: study hall monitor, junior high attendance and discipline, 8th-grade P.E. teacher, and athletic director of 34 years, Mr. Mohart has decided to retire. He also coached football, track, and basketball throughout most of those years. When I asked what made him decide to retire he simply said, “34 years.” He also says, “It was time.” I asked what his plan was for after retirement and he said, “I’m going to travel with my wife, play golf, and maybe get back into officiating.” Mr. Mohart is planning on staying in the Spring Lake community still but says, “I’m gonna miss the students, athletes, and the coaches and staff.” Finally, I asked him if the recent global pandemic has affected his decision to retire and he said, “Yes and no.” Sometime last year he was thinking about retiring, but never did, and the pandemic helped him reconsider the decision.

Congratulations to Mrs. Wessel, Mrs. Doane, Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Mohart on your retirement. We all wish you the best of luck for the rest of your lives.

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