With the 2019-2020 school year coming to a close, four employees of the Creston Community School District have decided to retire from their positions.
These employees — Christina Hurlbert, Claudia Peppers, Kim Riley and Dick Clark — were honored for their service by the school board earlier this week, and have been receiving cards from members of the community.
Hurlbert spent six years as part of the food staff, cooking meals for students.
“It used to be a lot more strict than it is now, which doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just different,” said Hurlbert. “It used to be more in order but now we get to do it more our own way with different regulation and stuff.”
Hurlbert had previously spent a few years as a substitute in the district. During her time, she said she has grown close to faculty and students.
“I will miss the kids and the people I worked with,” said Hurlbert. “I’ll also miss the busyness.”
As for plans after retirement, Hurlbert said much is up in the air right now, but one thing is certain.
“I’m getting a new puppy, that’s the only thing I know I’m doing,” said Hurlbert.
Peppers worked five years in the ISS room before serving 18 years as the activities secretary bookkeeper, dealing behind the scenes in all things sports.
“I wrote checks, I made deposits, I was a jack of all trades,” said Peppers.
Throughout her career, Peppers said the biggest change for her to keep up with was the acquisition of new technology in the district.
“A lot has changed with technology,” said Peppers. “We got the message sign out front, so I do that.”
Peppers saw the addition of new sports to the district, including soccer and bowling, and said she takes pride in the work she’s done and relationships she has made.
“I will miss being here at the high school with the teachers and coaches,” said Peppers.
Peppers said she hopes to spend more time with family and to enjoy the freedom that comes with retirement.
“We have grandchildren, we will probably start going to their games and have more free time to do what we want,” said Peppers.
Riley has been with the district for 23 years as a middle school special education teacher.
“I was the math teacher for the special ed kids from sixth through eighth grade,” said Riley.
Riley started her career in 1981, and spent 12 years as an educator at St. Malachy School before taking her position at the middle school.
“Through my career, I went from a manual typewriter to a computer,” said Riley. “That’s how I did my research papers in college, was on a manual typewriter, so things have changed quite a bit.”
Riley said she will miss seeing the students, but also said the bond between her and her colleagues is one she hopes to maintain.
“We have such a strong faculty at the Creston Middle School, and I’ve developed close relationships around the years,” said Riley. “I’ll be sure to keep in touch, but I’m ready to retire.”
After retirement, Riley plans to focus on her own business and her crafts.
“I’ve purchased a laser printer, so I’ve gotten into that a bit,” said Riley.
Clark has served 21 years as a middle school teacher, starting off as a social studies teacher before switching to earth science. Throughout his career, Clark has also always been coaching sports, including middle school football, boy’s basketball and track.
“I’ve been coaching forever,” said Clark. “It’s just fun being around kids that want to do something, that want to play and learn.”
During his time as an educator, Clark said he noticed government involvement had increased in education as a whole.
“I think there’s more government influence in our school districts,” said Clark. “You get somebody in Des Moines or Washington that think they know how to teach kids, and they mess with us.”
Clark said the biggest problem affecting schools in the current age is mental health.
“I think it’s blossomed more in the last few years than I’ve ever seen, for whatever reason,” said Clark.
As for his plans for retirement, Clark said he intends to ‘be cool.’
“I have handyman jobs to do and stuff like that,” said Clark. “I’ll keep busy, I’ve got plenty to do. It’ll probably take me a year to get my garage cleaned out. Right now, I’m unloading all my stuff from 20 years of teaching.”