Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Six educators retiring from Hiawatha/Howe after combined 205 years

Posted on 28 May 2018 by calvin

By TANI CHRISTINA and KELLEY MCMURCHIE
This year the Hiawatha/Howe Community Schools will be losing educators with 205 years of combined experience to retirement. Five teachers and one principal are hanging up their rulers and chalk and moving on to a new phase of life.

Photo left: Hiawatha retirees (l to r) are Kris Halverson, Principal Deb Regnier, Joy Chasensky. (Photo submitted)

Kris Halverson has been a teacher for 42 years! She will especially miss interacting with students and staff around learning new ideas. She plans on doing full-time daycare for her brand-new grandson. She will continue being active in her church and leading Bible study groups. When asked for words of advice for teachers Halverson said, “All work and no play makes you frazzled. Take the weekends off-at least until 4pm on Sunday! Also, don’t do it alone. Find peers to share the good, the frustrating, and the exhausting.”

Patricia Kremer has been a teacher for 34 ½ years—the last 33 at Hiawatha and Howe. She has loved many parts of her job: working with her colleagues, working with student teachers guiding them on the path to finding themselves as teachers, and of course, she has loved how the kids could make her day no matter what was going on. Her plans for the future include sleeping in on weekdays: she lives in Wisconsin and has had a hefty commute. Kremer also looks forward to skiing, biking, and taking road trips with her husband to explore the U.S. Her words of advice for teachers: “This is one of the most rewarding jobs, but it can be exhausting. Draw definite boundaries between school and home life, and you can go the distance!”

Jay McGowan has been a teacher for 33 years, all of them at Hiawatha and Howe. Students will miss his enthusiastic guidance at the annual fifth-grade camping trip to Camp Audubon. He will miss the curiosity, creativity, kindness, humor, and ambition that he’s been getting in daily doses from his students for more than three decades. Plans for retirement include activities like traveling, biking, and kayaking as well as meeting more people, volunteering, and reading books. McGowan is very excited to meet his new granddaughter due to be born in July. His words of wisdom are, “Be good to each other and remember that being interested is just as important as being interesting.”

Photo right: Howe retirees (l to r) are Mary Roffers, Jay McGowan, Patti Kremer. (Photo submitted)

Mary Roffers has been a teacher in Minneapolis for 33 years and in the Hiawatha/Howe community for 11 years. Mary has spent most of her time working with students in the Developmentally, Cognitively Delayed program. She is going to miss the delight in her students’ eyes when they accomplish something. It always gives her a feeling of euphoria. Roffers is excited at the prospect of working for her favorite clothing store, spending more time with her parents, volunteering at places she’s interested in such as animal shelters, and traveling all over the world. She’s already researching places to snowbird! Her advice is: “If you focus on who you are and what you can do, you can achieve almost anything. Just NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up!”

Joy Chasensky has been a special education teacher for 25 years. Her first classroom was next to the cafeteria. Every day she heard the theme song from Frozen sung very dramatically at each lunch hour. She will miss her students and the challenge involved in helping each student reach their full potential. She’s also going to miss the camaraderie with the fantastic Hiawatha staff. Chasensky looks forward to lots of travel—no longer planned around the academic calendar. She also wants to learn to play piano again. Her first vacation will be a canoe/camping trip in the BWCA.

Deb Regnier has been a principal at Hiawatha/Howe for the last eight years, having been a principal for four years before that and a teacher for 22 years before that. Students, staff, and families will miss her 100% effort, her infectious enthusiasm, and her care and concern. Regnier will miss all of the amazing students. She’ll miss the hugs and air hugs. She’ll also miss seeing all the progress that our students make from the start of the year to the end of the year. She is looking forward to traveling whenever she wants. Having just gone on a cruise during spring break, she thinks another cruise is on the horizon. Regnier’s words of advice are to “always BE and DO your best!! Be kind—keep filling buckets!”

The Hiawatha/Howe community will miss these amazing educators. We wish them all the best in their post-school reality.

Hiawatha Academies

Chanhassen Dinner Theater

Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly

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