School let out for the summer Friday at Orient-Macksburg. When the bell rings and a new set of students come into the doors of the school this fall, four women will not be there to greet them.
A Retirement Coffee was held Wednesday, May 22 for these four individuals who are indeed retiring after making numerous impacts on the people they came in contact with. They are Belinda Lindley, second grade teacher; Judy Johnson, Superintendent’s Secretary; Sue Bissell, Guidance Counselor and Ginny Knapp, Librarian. All past and present students and staff were invited to attend the event.
Knapp, originally from Upstate New York, moved to Iowa in the late 1970s and originally taught science at O-M. She then went back to school, earned a Masters Degree and became the librarian. In all, she’s taught for six years at O-M.
“I think there have been a lot of changes in education. Discipline-wise, we have more to deal with now than we used to and that makes it a little more challenging,” Knapp said. “As a whole, I think students have a lot more opportunities. I taught keyboarding this year to kindergarten through eighth graders and I think that’s the way education is going, so I’m glad Orient was willing to let me do that and help these kids know how to use a keyboard so they’re not hunting and pecking.”
An elementary teacher her whole time in education, Lindley wound up in second grade and has enjoyed her time as a teacher, though she’s eager to be able to spend more time with her grandchildren in retirement.
“I’m ready for retirement. I have two grandchildren. I’m really looking forward to spending time with them,” Lindley said. “I’m planning on taking it easy. It’s just that time.”
Johnson served as Food Service Secretary for the Creston Community School District before coming to Orient-Macksburg. She’s only partially retiring. She says she wants to continue working part-time somewhere in Creston, and she’s excited to continue writing books. Johnson worked at O-M for five years after working in the Creston school district for eight years.
“I’ve been sitting on chapter seven of the sequel [to my first book] for three years. I wrote ‘Crazy Jake’s Treasure,’ an adult fiction book about a woman who wanted to own her own home and she ended up buying the home of the local hoarderer,” Johnson explained. “Jake is the guy who had owned the house and the book is about all the things she finds. The sequel is started and who knows when it’ll get done, but that’s one of the things I plan on doing. I also hope to do a lot more reading because I love to read.”
Bissell has ties to O-M and Nodaway Valley but has worked two different stints at O-M, first as a high school math teacher for 19 years, then as a part-time guidance counselor. In between, before she retired the first time, Bissell taught for five years at NV.
“Mrs. [Teresa] Thompson called me and wondered if I could fill this position as a part-time counselor, so I came back. I think I missed the kids and I didn’t feel I kept myself that busy. It only averages out to be about a day a week. I’m only on a 30-day contract,” Bissell said. “My first love is high school math, then I decided to get my Masters in high school counseling, so I went to Drake. I made a lot of good friends with the staff and have made friends with some of the former students.”
All four retirees expressed gratitude that O-M would want to have a reception for them upon their retirement.
“This was a wonderful reception. Since my contract goes to the end of June, I thought I’d be here by myself and kind of fade into the sunset, but I did not know they were going to have this,” Johnson remarked. “This has been really nice.”