Decades of service leaving Beatrice Public Schools at the end of school year

Decades of service to Beatrice Public Schools will be ending this year.  School Administration recently asked retiring teachers, administrators and staff to reflect on their careers….below are the responses. 

Amy Randel - 13 years at BPS - 26 Overall 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

I feel like it’s the right decision for me and Neal at this time. There is a part of me

that feels like I am not done, but for now it gives me time.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

McCook Comm College - Chadron State College

Dundy County Schools

Ralston

McCook College Teacher and Coached Volleyball

Some Table Waiting at the Copper Mill

Bartley K-12 Counselor

McCook High

  1. Number of years in education?

26 Total Years including McCook Community College

In reality never really left

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

The lack of parental support from parents and the lack of trust that teachers are

genuinely concerned and on the same page about their children.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

Seeing the successes and failures of the students that I have been involved

with.

Narrowing it down to one time is impossible, but the relationships between

everyone I have worked with are the best memories.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Ask for help when you need it, don’t wait until you feel like you are in over your

head, there are great people here that will help you.

Keep your sense of humor

Beth Jurgens - 33/34 Years In Beatrice 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

Definitely going to miss it, the kids, the staff, and a place to go to when I need to

get away.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Beatrice - In all the elementaries

Student Taught at Paddock Lane and Stoddard

Went 29 years at Cedar

1 year at Lincoln

3 years at Stoddard

  1. Number of years in education?

34 Years

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Family support and the behavior of kids today vs. 30 years ago. Years ago, you

could correct kids and parents would support you, today, kids get in trouble and

it’s the fault of the teacher.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

There’s a lot of great memories, but one that stands out is when the room moms

put on a bridal shower for us at school. It was so family oriented and a good

time, both my husband and I were very surprised.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Be a part of the community and get to know the families. Be involved in what

your kids and families do and know who you are outside of school

Jill Wiens - 31 years 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

It’s a very stressful job, and has been even more stressful this year, so from that

perspective I am excited to spend some time with my family. Kind of excited for

the next step.

I will miss the staff, you become family and are with these folks 8 hours a day.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Started at Paddock Lane as 5th Grade and only under Betty and Kevin.

  1. Number of years in education?

31 years in the same district

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Behaviors have been the biggest changes, kids are different than they used to be

31 years ago.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

If I had to pick one, I think it would be all the fun field trips that I have had with my classes

over the years. Some of them would be Memorial Stadium, The State Capital, Filley Stone

Barn, The Henry Doorly Zoo, Morrill Hall, and Chet Ager Nature Center.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Patience is very important, try and leave school at school and take time for you

and your family. This is probably the most difficult thing to do, it has been the first

thing I think of when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think of before

bed

Karla Shelley 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

It’s interesting that last spring i really thought I was going to retire, but with Covid

and the uncertainty of the entire situation, I thought it was best to come back for

a year.

I am really excited about it, because I still feel really young and have plenty of

willingness to do some different things, I feel good about it.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

BPS Alumni

Earned my degree from Peru State as a nontraditional student

Started my teaching career in Oakland Craig and was there for 24 years

Been here in Beatrice for 4 years at ACP.

  1. Number of years in education?

28 years in education

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Technology and the struggle of the balance between what is too much, and what

is not enough. The technology factor has changed everything.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

Don’t know that there is a specific memory, but maybe a compilation of

experiences where students return and express the love they have and

affirmation that you had an impact on their life..

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

At the end of the day, ask yourself...would you have wanted your child(ren) to

want to be part of this classroom today?

Talk to your kids, and make what your teaching real to them. Bring whatever it is

your teaching to real life and real expectation

John Jarosh - 40 total years IN EDUCATION 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

I am just ready to spend time doing what I wanna do, instead of what I have to

  1. Spend time with my wife and camp when we want to.
  2. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Dempster Jr. High School in Mt. Prospect Illinois - Industrial Tech and PE

Papillion La Vista High School - 18 years

Beatrice Public Schools - Asst. Principal/Ad 2 years at HS and then Asst

Principal at Middle School Since

  1. Number of years in education?

40 years in education

  1. Biggest Change in Education?
  2. Technology and the differences in expectations. When I started I signed a

contract, got a lesson plan book and was told what number to call if I was sick

and GOOD LUCK! No mentors, nothing else, just make it work.

  1. Needs of Kids
  2. Best memory in your experience?

A kid that all the other teachers complained about and I had in my cabinet making

class, he chose to make a Grandfather clock, he was in my room before school

and after school. At the end of the year, his parents invited me to dinner and

thanked me for getting him through school.

The coaching memories and relationships built over the years.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Do 2 things:

  1. Care
  2. Try

Understand it doesn’t matter what your role is as an educator, whether it’s

teaching, administrating or coaching, CARE and TRY and you will be fine

Kelly Meyer - 25 years in Beatrice and 32 Overall 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

I feel great, I am ready for a change, for 32 years, I have been preparing over

summer for the upcoming fall and school year, whether its been music selection, vocal

music selection, show choir, district music, etc., etc. etc.

For the first summer in 32 years I will turn in my keys and won’t have any of that

planning to worry about. It will definitely be different, but I tam ready for something

different.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Started at Orleans by Harlan Reservoir - Marching Band behind the pig in

Stamford Nebraska for the Stamford Pork Days.

Then went to Roseland Silverlake for a year, where I met my wife.

Then went back to Southern Valley between Beaver City, Orleans and

Oxford.

  1. Number of years in education?

32 Total Years in Education

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Cell Phones and the convenience of instant communication have created

situations that can change the total effect of a class period. Getting kids to be

more interested in how to communicate a choral piece when their pocket is

vibrating is definitely more challenging.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

One of the best memories is opening up the Hevelone Center here in Beatrice

and opening concerts, and musicals. The Sound of Music in 1998-99 with the

the orchestra pit, was an amazing experience.

The first time my show choir group cracked the finals at the show choir

competition was a big deal.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and try to get to know the clan of teachers that

are within your age group and find ways to create your culture and the comradery

with other staff is huge. Don’t be afraid to ask one of your principals for help with

students who are challenging

Marian Wallen - 31 Years in Stoddard and In the same room!

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

Feel very good, with 2 new grandbabies in Colorado will have time to travel and

do some golfing.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Started at Stoddard elementary and been there the whole time.

  1. Number of years in education?

35 actual years - started in 1986

All years in Stoddard, in the same classroom and same grade.

Graduated from UNL

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Parental Support, when I first started, parents would work with you, kids used to

be prepared to come to school and were ready for a full day of learning.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

Over the years the staff that I worked with has been awesome we were like a

Family.

It helped the kids that we knew each other.

Seeing the faces of the kids when they got to go on field trips was always fun.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Don’t plan on sleep or free time, plan time is really not planning time, it’s

communicating with parents time etc. so use your time wisely.

Get to know your students...it will help when times are difficult.

Keep the kids moving

Michael Policky - 30 years in Beatrice/32 Total Years

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

After Steve Menke dieing, I have no hesitation and know I am making the right

decision, my dad dying early, and watching many of the people who I started with

passing away, it’s time to go for my own health and time to spend some time with

family.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Butte Nebraska Wildcats - Mainly 7th and 8th Grade English and Social Studies

Also taught PE, Music, Study Halls

Asst. Jr. High FB Coach

Only Girls BB Coach and Boys BB Coach

Coached 31 BB Games in month of January

  1. Number of years in education?

32 Total Years and 30 years in Beatrice

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Technology...going from not having a computer in a room, to having 40 in a room,

and everything is on the computer from attendance to grades, to lessons.

Government involvement in always testing, but not teaching as much, we are

always assessing something, and not teaching it.

Inclusion of students with disabilities, which has positives and negatives, but 30

years ago those students wouldn’t be in our classrooms.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

The Blanket statement is knowing I made a difference even though sometimes it

doesn’t show up for years later, I know I made a difference.

One night I was at Parent Teacher Conferences, I had a young lady who was

concerning and on the edge of suicidal tendencies. Parents noticed some of the

things I had noticed and were also concerned, when they got home for PT

Conferences she had OD’d, but was able to survive, I feel like I made a big

difference in that students survival. I hope kids understand it’s not all about A’s

and B’s, or winning and losing, but about your character and what kind of a

person you are. I hope I have made a positive impact on people, and a leader

among my peers who tried to stand up for them, but also guide them to good

decision making.

Just being positive and having an open ear, and if people heard someone

whistling down the hall, they thought of me first

Neal Randel

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

I feel great about the decision, it’s been a great job, but very demanding and

requires a wealth of responsibility.

Being responsible for so many other people’s kids is getting more challenging,

and being a second parent to 600 teenage kids is hugely stressful.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

First Teaching job was at Yutan - Chieftans

From there went to Culbertson - Bears

Then to McCook - Bison

Then to Lexington - Minutemen

Then to Beatrice - Orangeman and Lady 0

  1. Number of years in education?

30 total years

No returning….go back to work somewhere trying my hand at something

different.

There’s a lot of things we can do, and look forward to doing, that we haven’t had

time to do.

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Social media and how every person whether it’s staff, student, patron etc. has an

opinion, and is not afraid to share it with the world. People have always had

opinions, but we didn’t necessarily always hear them.

The impact of people just saying what they want about someone else without

even calling or talking to them.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

Seeing the House of Orange get completed was a huge deal, it’s an awesome

feeling to have seen that become the front door of Beatrice.

When Aaron Plas set the state record for high jump, the unification of the crowd

and everyone in the place cheering for him to break the record was a neat experience.

The help and ideas from other AD’s in the state and relationships built has been

second to none.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Remember everyday why you chose this profession, for kids, give your best effort

everyday for kids, don’t mail it in, and know it’s not going to be perfect.

Teddy Roosevelt Quote - The credit belongs to the person in the ring

Pam McGhee 26 Total Years! 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

Very mixed feelings, happy but at the same time going to miss it.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Started here in Beatrice after operating a daycare for 10 years.

  1. Number of years in education?

With kids for 36 years and in Education in Beatrice for 26 was a para at Stoddard for year 1 and Paddock Lane in Title 1 for 2 years and 2nd Grade in Lincoln for the rest.

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Parent Involvement has really changed, schooling is looked at more casually and not as formal as it used to be.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

1 Little notes and creations from students that say "I love you!", or "I love school!"

#2 The look in a child's eye of the moment the concept clicked and they understood.

#3 There was also the time when a student kept sneaking a few gold buttons in his pockets each day from my button collection (that went with a literature book). His mom stumbled upon "his own little collection at home", had a little discussion with him, and then made him return the buttons to me with a little apology note attached. (Heartwarming!....I still have the note.)

#4 A mom secretly sent me her daughter's scholarship application letter that was about her favorite teacher.....that brought tears to my eyes. So unexpected, so very special.

#5 The time the sprinkler system malfunctioned in my classroom on a Sunday afternoon. It was devastating to see the teaching materials, books, furniture, etc. that were damaged by this unfortunate accident. My whole classroom was laid out on the playground trying to dry that afternoon. Destroyed books were being thrown out right and left as well as so many other items. However, the one good thing that I will always treasure is the the kind and caring gestures of the Lincoln School Staff and how it comforted me as they pitched in and helped out in this time of need. Their support and assistance was truly amazing! Even some of the spouses were here helping to salvage and clean up the soggy mess.

#6 I was so excited this last summer to hear that our district hired one of my past students to teach at the high school....I believe he is an English teacher. He happened to be working for Mead lumber over the summer, delivering something to our house. I hadn't seen him for awhile...so thrilled to see him and offer up congratulations. He turned to me and said, "Well, Mrs. McGhee, you are the reason I became a teacher in the first place." I don't like to toot my own horn, but that is and will always be a great memory!

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

You have to find a balance between family, career and health. This isn’t a job you just hang up at the end of the day, there is always more to do, but you have to be willing to prioritize the important things in your life as well.  At the primary level, surround kids with books, it will help them learn and find a love for reading

Pamela Burgess 28 Years in Education 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

I feel good about it, with 9 grandchildren I am excited to now join my husband in

being a grandparent. It’s going to be a change, but it’s a good change and the right thing

to do.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Barnston Nebraska - 5th and 6th Grades - 7 years

Took 7 years off to stay home with kids

Came back as a Para at Paddock Lane for 1 year

Title 1 Teacher for 1 Year

Taught 3rd Grade for 4 years

Middle School for 14 years

Librarian

  1. Number of years in education?

28 Years….

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Student Behaviors….teacher dedication has changed….seems that fewer and

fewer teachers want to take work at home and put in the extra hours.

Teachers don’t mind being gone...I have not missed a single day this year.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

When I taught third grade in Paddock Lane, I established a town, where every kid

in the classroom had a job similar to a community. Parents bought in and helped

interview kids, hire kids, and buy and sell Homes(desks). Kids learned life skills

and lessons.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Don’t do it because you get summers off, don’t do it if your heart is not it, and

don’t do it if you're not willing to commit to kids

Renee Jones 

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

It’s the right decision, it was time. With all of the electronic requirements and

Covid issues, I am ready to be done.

  1. Where did you start and what was your mascot?

Started in Beatrice in 1978 bee a loyal Beatrice Lady O supporter for

43 years

Proud UNL Graduate

  1. Number of years in education?

43 years - All in Beatrice

Cedar Elementary, Lincoln Elem., Paddock Elementary

Middle School, St. Pauls and St. Joe’s

Moved - 17-18 Times from one school to the next In 43 years

  1. Biggest Change in Education?

Technology/Electronics - The worst thing for education ever invented is video

games.

In some instances computers have been nice to expose kids to places they can’t

go, but creativity and imagination have plummeted.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

The first years at Cedar and working with the gals that were always willing to help

but also encouraged me to fly. THe first 10 years seemed liked we were all family

at Cedar.

The year there was no snow days, but we got out for the flood.

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Patience is critical, a multitude of patience is required. You have to be able to be

flexible, know that it’s ok to try something else if what you are doing is not

working, come back and try it again later

Terry Brethouwer -T-BONE - 38 Years at Beatrice Public Schools

  1. How do you feel as you reflect on this decision?

Relieved and scared….Doing something for so long makes you question if it’s the

right thing to do. But I look forward to not having the stress.

  1. Where did you start and at what building ?

Started in the Jr. High School, which was built in 1924, Been in Beatrice all 38

years.

Became supervisor at Jr. High at age 24.

District Supervisor in 2004 replacing Richard Dostal.

Been Chief of Building Operations for 17 years.

  1. ?
  2. Biggest Change in Those Years?

Technology and Building Security have been the biggest changes. When I

started, doors and windows were open at the start of the day and left open until

the last person walked out.

Part of my job when I started was to move projectors from Room to Room and

get them setup and repair the films when they broke.

  1. Best memory in your experience?

Camaraderie of staff and the folks I have worked with, gonna miss the

relationships.

Friday night beer nights with the Teachers, boy they know how to have a good

time!

  1. Advice to beginning teachers?

Lean on other teachers, and have fun with the process of being around

kids and your teacher friends and don’t piss off the custodians!

  1. Advice to Beginning Custodian?

Your an important role, take pride in what you do, and make sure you work hard

for the kids

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