Honoring 2019 Retirees

Honoring District Retirees
Posted on 05/22/2019

Nine retirees were recognized with a short reading and a Golden Apple at the Tuesday, May 21 Board of Education Meeting. 

Angie Anderson has been employed by the Mexico School District for nine years: Six as the District Lead Nurse and three years as the middle school nurse.

Upon retirement, Angie will work with “Research to Practice” to mentor and supervise school nurses across Missouri that are practicing on their own. She enjoyed working for the Mexico School District because she believes the staff is wonderful in cooperating to care for the needs of students. She added, “The nursing staff is the best around. We have improved health services across the district because of our professional development opportunities. It has been an honor to work in the Mexico School District. I am blessed.”

Former School Board Member Bev Borgeson shared, “As a board member, I was involved with Angie on several committees: the Mental Health Task Force, Wellness Committee, and TEAMS.  After my time on the board, I’ve continued on the Wellness Committee throughout the last school year. Angie is so amazingly organized, respected, and such a committed individual. She led each of those meetings with skills and a desire to do what is right for the students, families, and community. Angie has juggled so many activities and roles and does it calmly and with such grace. I know I only saw a small snapshot of the roles Angie played in the Mexico School District and for the State of Missouri, but she has worked closely with Marjorie Cole at the State level, and I was privileged to present at a National American School Health Nursing Conference with Angie regarding our TEAMS project and cooperative efforts in our community to provide care, information, and follow through for our students. Her professional admirers are not only here in the Mexico School District but at the State and National levels as well. I have considered it an honor to have worked with Angie on committees and feel very blessed to call her my friend.  Angie has represented the community and MPSD 59 well. Thank you for your work, and I look forward to seeing your success in your role at the next level."
Middle School Counselor Darlene Schoper shared, “As a nurse in our building, Angie was an excellent team player. We communicated and referred back and forth to each other often while helping students. Angie easily made students feel like they were being taken care of yet was able to keep them in school. She was always professional and willing to help.
Beyond being the nurse for MMS,  Angie took over the role of supervising all nurses. She provided them training and opportunities for growth - the sign of a good supervisor. She went above and beyond to write grants that facilitated a staff wellness program and an at-risk program for students as well. She made sure all staff had training about general medical conditions and offered CPR training to anyone who wanted it. Angie has always given of herself whether it is being concerned about kids or staff, taking pictures at ball games and sharing them with parents, or taking her own time to make popcorn for all the buildings. Thanks for everything, Angie! You will be missed!”
Angie Anderson has enjoyed working for the Mexico School District because she believes the staff is wonderful in cooperating to care for the needs of students. She added, “The nursing staff is the best around. We have improved health services across the district because of our professional development opportunities. It has been an honor to work in the Mexico School District. I am blessed.”
Congratulations, Angie, and thank you for your dedication to our school district!

Jeff Anderson has been the Activities Director for Mexico High for eight years and an Assistant Principal with the high school for nine. Jeff has dedicated a total of 34 years to education. 
Jeff shared, “I want to Thank the Mexico 59 School District for the opportunity to serve the students here in Mexico. I am truly blessed to have two sons and one daughter-in-law who are all Mexico graduates.” He added that he has enjoyed working for the Mexico School District because he has had the opportunity to work with a great group of teachers and coaches. He remembers, “We have shared a tremendous amount of success in our Activity & Sports Programs. Administration has always been very supportive as our student athletes as we have reached several amazing goals.” 
Upon his retirement, Jeff plans to spend more time with family. He is also looking forward to extra hours at the YMCA and Golf Course. We will continue to see him on courts and fields at local schools where he will spend his evenings officiating his favorite sports.
Co-worker and friend Deb Haag shared, “Jeff loves to watch kids compete. He loves to watch them grow on and of the court, field, and mat. He celebrates their successes as if he is playing with them and he mourns their defeat with them as well. In the end, Jeff is happiest when watching a competition that he can cheer on our kids!”
Coach and co-worker Lindsey Yancey recalled, “Working with Jeff has been a truly wonderful experience. As a teacher, a student activity advisor, and a coach, I have had the opportunity to watch him be the #1 fan of our students and all they do. He is unabashedly proud of our students and, like a proud parent, takes advantage of any and all opportunities to share the great things happening in our school. As a coach I cannot begin to explain the amount of support I have enjoyed having from Jeff as my AD. He has made himself available as someone who is willing to help in pretty much any way I need and he has been a supportive and caring friend that walks beside his coaches if we experience challenges. I also really appreciate how he supports our student activities;  he has been a great partner for Student Council and has always empowered our students try new things. Not only does he give us the blessing to do almost anything the students are dreaming of doing, he often is also right there with us trying to make every event a success. Jeff is a great example of the servant leadership he believes in so strongly and I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to work with him all these years. 
Brad Ellebracht, MHS Principal continued, “Jeff's passion for our kids and our teams and activities has always been an inspiration to all of us. His loyalty to the students and programs at Mexico High School, while he has been here, is second to none. When our kids are successful, there is no one more enthusiastic and proud than Jeff.  He has also been a great role-model and mentor to the adults in our school, including me.”
Coach Keith Louder shared, "Jeff is passionate about the success of the teams at MHS. He is a great cheerleader for our teams. Jeff is one of the first faces the athletes and coaches will see at the end of game. He came to us from a varied background of schools, but he will leave education as a Bulldog!"
Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for your service to education!

Amy Auwarter is retiring as the School Counselor at Hawthorne Elementary. Amy has been in the education field for 29 years. In 1990, she taught 5th grade in Louisiana, Missouri for two years. When she moved back to Mexico, she taught a combined 4th and 5th grade class for eight years at Missouri Military Academy and also earned her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. When her oldest daughter began kindergarten, Amy started teaching 4th grade at Mexico Public Schools. After three years, she began work on her Masters in Counseling and became an elementary school counselor, where she has served the district for the last 16 years.  
Mrs. Auwarter considers herself blessed to have had a wonderful experience in education and gives much of the credit to the great leaders and teachers in this district. She feels that her experiences with students and staff have made her heart bigger, and she has become a better person because of this. She is completing her career in education at Hawthorne, which is the same building where she began elementary school herself, some 45 years ago. She begins each morning, for the past several years,  greeting all of the students and staff with, "GOOD MORNING, WONDERFUL ONES" and reminds them to, “Make it a great day, or not, the choice is mine.” She feels blessed to be where she is today and plans to make retirement GREAT in all ways possible. Her immediate retirement plans are to go to Hawaii with her mom!
Sonja Eldridge, Hawthorne Administrative Assistant shared, “At the close of the 2018-2019 school year, we say goodbye to a cherished member of our school family.  Amy Auwarter brings joy, cheerfulness, and positivity to our school family each and every day. Amy never seems to have a bad day and always has a smile, a hug, or a positive thought when we seem to need it the most. She is caring, dedicated, and compassionate while remaining professional at all times.  I can’t think of a better advocate, friend, or role model for anyone. Student or staff member…..if you have had the pleasure of knowing Amy, you have been blessed with a lifelong friend.”
Melissa Chastain, Hawthorne Principal, continued, “From the first moment that students meet Mrs. Auwarter and are greeted by her huge smile, they know without a doubt that they are cared for and loved by her. She has a love for learning that she passes along to students. Amy is skilled at fostering positive relationships with students and their parents or guardians. She does not seek awards and recognition, but rather strives to inspire and impact all those she comes in contact with each day. Mrs. Auwarter offers love, acceptance, and hope to all children.  Amy encourages students and teachers to be their best each and every day. 
Having personally worked alongside Amy for the last 14 years, I have seen her work tirelessly to support students and teachers and offer guidance that has impacted lives for the better. Without a doubt, Amy is a blessing for those of us who are her peers. Marian Wright Edelman said, ‘Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.’ Truly, Amy Auwarter has done just that!”
Congrats on your retirement, Mrs. Auwarter!

Jennifer Gore has worked with students and staff in the Mexico School District for 12 years. For the past six years, she has worked as a speech implementer at Mexico Middle and Mexico High Schools. The first six years with the district, Mrs. Gore was a social studies teacher at MMS.

Jennifer shared that she enjoyed her most recent position as a speech implementer because it allowed her to work with students on a one-to-one or small group basis, which allowed her to get to know her students better. She added, “Some of the finest people I have ever met are current and past students. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Kate Blessing for the past six years. I have learned a lot from her, and she has always been very supportive.”

Jennifer’s retirement plans include traveling with her husband Ken in their motorhome, and whatever else the Lord has in store for her!

Julie Lower, MMS Assistant Principal, shared, “Jennifer was my high school social studies teacher so I've known her both as my teacher and as a colleague. She's always been a dedicated educator who consistently shows that she cares about her students and their learning. Her passion for education has been evident throughout the years as she has transitioned to different positions; she has continued to work hard no matter what her role is. Her focus is always on helping kids grow. I wish Jennifer lots of R&R and happy times during retirement! She deserves it!”

Kate Blessing, Special Education Director continued, “Jennifer is driven by her students and will advocate for them in any area where they need assistance. The words 'Special Education' took on new meaning for Jennifer once she got to know her students. She made a statement to me once that was monumental--I am paraphrasing here... 

'I look back on all the times in the regular classroom I thought the student was just being lazy or not wanting to do the work. I think back on how hard my students were working, and it wasn't what I said, but maybe how I said it that caused them to struggle. I understand now, and I will make a difference in my students educational success.' 

And so she has.  

Jennifer is an example for teachers who feel weary and need change. Jennifer embraced the statement made by Albert Einstein, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." Jennifer made things different for her students. She worked WITH them and FOR them. Jennifer brought about this change by providing modifications and adjustments causing her students to transform themselves and become successful. She made it look easy. I can't tell you how much I will miss her! Thank you, Jennifer!”

Thank you, Mrs. Gore, for your many years of commitment to education! 

Mary Ann Kasubke is retiring from her current position as the McMillan School Counselor, a position she has held for 17 years. Additionally, she has taught 1st grade, 2nd grade, and a combination room of 1st & 2nd graders, totaling 19 years as a classroom teacher. In all, Mary Ann has dedicated 36 years to educating children in the our school district. 

Mrs. Kasubke remembered, “I have enjoyed working with the students and faculty at McMillan School through the years. It has been rewarding to watch the students learn and grow both emotionally and academically. It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with students in the classroom and on an individual basis.” She added that McMillan faculty and building administrators have always supported the counseling program and her years in the classroom. She says, “I have been blessed to have attended, graduated and worked for Mexico Public Schools.  It is truly a wonderful place to be!”

Upon her retirement, Mary Ann is looking forward to new adventures and traveling while spending more time with her family and friends.

Valerie Nachreiner, McMillan Administrative Assistant share the following about Mrs. Kasubke, “Mary Ann brings so much joy and positivity to our building! Her love for the students is undeniable, and she is a safe place not only for them, but for her coworkers as well. She sets a wonderful example of what it means to love others. I’m truly thankful to have had the chance to work with her this year!”

Teacher Katie Isaacson added, “Mary Ann has been a co-worker for two years, and a cheerful person I have known since I was a young child; she always has a smile on her face. I have worked side-by-side with her to help struggling students, and she is always happy to lend a hand. Mary Ann is well known for her fabulous read alouds. She always reads with so much heart and expression. Our students have commented that they will really miss hearing her read. Happy retirement, Mary Ann, but your presence in our school with be greatly be missed.”

Teacher Janet McBride attended William Jewell College with Mary Ann. When Ms. McBride was hired, she covered a one-year maternity leave for Mrs. Kasubke and then continued teaching 1st Grade. Jannie praised Mary Ann’s community support and work with the school’s faith-based partner through Bright Futures. She continued her kind words through an acrostic poem: 
Mary Ann is motivational. She has a way of inspiring one to accomplish what they didn’t see possible.
Accomplished in her ability to play the piano and sing which she used frequently when she taught First Grade to calm her students and bring joy to her classroom.
Respectful to all those she meets.  She has worked with a very diverse group in her counseling position and she encourages each person.
Youthful in her continued pursuit of staying physically healthy by walking faithfully each day during her lunch break.  We have walked many a mile relieving stress and shedding calories.
Active in her church and many organizations that show her continued support in her community.
Noteworthy in her continued care and support of our students’ emotions from traumatic backgrounds and her positive influence to teach character education.
Never gives up and always does her very best to make what she does professional and impressive.

Congratulations on your retirement, Mrs. Kasubke!

Tori Webber is retiring from her position as an elementary teacher at Eugene Field, where she has instructed students for 23 years. Mrs. Webber has also taught 3rd and 4th grade, summer school, and held the position of student council sponsor. In total, Tori has been in education for 30 years, starting in Columbia Public Schools. She's also been a member of MSTA for 30 years having served many positions on the local CTA and state level.

Upon her retirement, Tori plans to learn to be a farmwife! She is also excited to volunteer her time to the local community.

Tori shared that she enjoyed working for our district because Mexico has wonderful community support from so many local organizations. She added, “I have enjoyed working with the staff at Mexico Schools because they are dedicated to their positions. I have enjoyed the amazing students I've been blessed to call mine over the years, because they are the ones taking care of us in the future. I've enjoyed getting to know many families and have watched their kids grow up and graduate. Many of whom I've been able to call co-workers. That is what this career is about. All the time, heartache, and caring for these students pays off when you see them excel in their own life.”

Upon her retirement, Tori plans to learn to be a farmwife! She is also excited to volunteer her time to the local community.

Middle School Principal Deb Haag shared, “Tori is known for her structure and organization in the classroom which was so helpful for those students who need boundaries and high expectations. Her love of Math shows through as she pushes students to grow and learn even when the work is difficult.  Every year she knits fidget pads for students to use as a comfort and a focusing tool. Through the years she has gone the extra mile for kids who have not had the same experience as other students by taking them to football and basketball games.”

CTA chair and friend Sarah Keithley added, “I have worked with Tori for the past seven years through our Community Teachers’ Association and MSTA. Tori is an amazing educator with a wealth of knowledge and experience. She has been a great mentor and co-worker to me. I know I would not have been able to become as involved, in our district, as I am today without her support and guidance. One of the main reasons that Tori has had such an impact on my teaching career, and I would assume many others, is her determination to effect positive change for both students and staff and her desire to make Mexico the best district it can be. We will miss Tori more than words can express!”

Teacher and friend Ann Runge offered, “I have had the opportunity to work with Tori Webber at Eugene Field Elementary for many years and have been her friend for many more. She is a teacher who not only taught a student the curriculum but also important character traits to help create a well-rounded student. Mrs. Webber displays the character traits of compassion, honesty, kindness, and loyalty to her students daily and through many occasions. She has taken students to Bulldog games who wouldn't normally have had that opportunity, brought a student's clothes home to wash while maintaining the student's dignity, and given hand me downs for students in need. She has taught students to respect others and be responsible for their own actions. She reaches the ‘WHOLE’ child daily and inspired them to do their best.”

Congratulations on your retirement, Mrs. Webber, and thank you for your dedication to the field of education! 

Darven Nichols is employed at Mexico High School as the custodian. He has dedicated his time to Mexico Schools for over 27 years! 

Darven shared that he has enjoyed working for the Mexico School District because he’s made many new friends during his tenure here. 

Teacher and Coach Shayla Cox offered, “Darven Nichols is an inspiration to all. He works so hard and is always willing to help out. As the head volleyball coach at Mexico High School, I’ve had a lot of interaction with Darven as he usually was the guy to set up everything for us! He made game days go a lot smoother and the seasons wouldn't have been the same without him. He wore his volleyball shirt with pride and was always asking what else he could do to help set up. Darven will be greatly missed!”

Coach Steve Haag added, “It is hard to believe the we will not have Darven around next year.  One of the many staples in my 19 years at Mexico has been seeing Darven almost daily.  Darven takes great pride in Mexico, and especially Mexico High School! He is always pleasant to be around, and very supportive no matter if my team wins or loses.  The pride Darvin has for this great school might be duplicated, but never replaced.  Thanks to Darvin for his hard work, dedication to Mexico High School and his friendship! He will be missed!”

Coach Keith Louder chimed in, "Darven has always been a willing worker. As a coach, anytime I needed something done he was quick to act. We had regular conversations about the St. Louis Cardinals and he was always interested in how the teams of MHS were doing. We are losing an important piece of MHS!”

And, finally, Coach Darren Pappas shared, “Darven has been a friend of the family ever since my parents moved here in the late 1970s. I've had the honor of knowing him my whole life and recently had the privilege of working alongside him at MHS for the last 12 years. He is someone that I can always count on to get the job done. Darven was always willing to help out in anyway that he could. He is a huge supporter of Mexico Athletics and takes pride in preparing sporting venues for our athletic teams. One thing is for certain, I could and can always count on Darven's support throughout the school year whether we were in season or not. Many times arriving back to MHS from away games, Darven would be there to have things unlocked to make the process of getting kids home quicker in order for kids to make it to school the next day. Anything I needed him to do he would get it done and not even blink an eye at the request. He also would like to talk about the team, their performance on and off the court, and even give his opinions from time to time. Finally, Darven exemplifies what a "Bulldog For Life" looks like, and I personally can't thank him enough for his dedication to this school district, and especially Mexico High School athletics. Darven, congratulations on your retirement, we look forward to seeing in the stands next season and will miss all your ‘behind the scenes’ efforts at Mexico High School.”

For over 23 years in our district, Kim Black has been employed as a secretary to the PreKindergarten and Parents as Teachers, Office Assistant at McMillan, a summer school playground supervisor, custodian, and member of the summer school custodial crew. 

Kim shared, “I enjoyed building relationships with students and their families and watching the excitement of being at school. Everyone has been so nice here!”

During retirement, Kim plans to enjoy life and spend more time with family.

Co-worker Nancy Fetterhoff shared, “Kim played a vital role in the Parents As Teachers program for many years. She did everything from entering pertinent information into the record keeping program, compiling reports for DESE, taking phone calls and relaying messages and trying hard to decipher messages left on the answering machine, to making cool fliers advertising events.  She was great at keeping good records and her penmanship was fabulous!

A quick look in her office confirmed four things that she loved--the Cardinals, Winnie the Pooh, the color purple and of course, her grandson, Hunter. Kim exhibited patience and was a good listener.  She is a good friend--I'm so glad our paths crossed!! Best wishes to Kim in this new chapter!”

Dot Quinlan recollects, “Kim was the first voice and face of many of us in Pre-K and PAT and she called to us or met us as we entered our building. She always answered the phone and greeted each of the staff, families, or students with a smile that put us all at ease. In a building that often did not have an on-site administrator, Kim filled lots of roles beyond that of secretary.  As hard as we try, no two days are the same and each has their own challenges. Again, Kim handled all of this with smiles. grace, and intense organization. She dedicated the best parts of herself and her career to Mexico 59. As she retires we can only hope that those who come next honor her and her legacy, with the same dedication.”

Roger Turner is retiring from his current position of Social Studies teacher at Mexico High School. Mr. Turner has been with the district for seven years. He was also the assistant girls basketball coach. 

Roger has enjoyed working for the district because of the great kids here in Mexico and the his great colleagues. At some point during retirement, he would enjoy moving to Wyoming.

Mexico High Secretary, Deb Fountain, shared, “Roger started here as ISS teacher, which was right down the hall from the office. We visited every day about something. It didn't take long to realize he was a talker! One of the things I admired about Roger was how he connected to the high school kids during his first year at MHS. He helped coach the girls basketball team, and he loves the sport even after he has retired from coaching.  

Probably the one thing at the top of my list about Roger is his keeping in contact with his former students and basketball players. I remember when he lost one of his past players to cancer and he went to south Missouri to be with the player’s family and attend the service. Hopefully, as Roger moves on, he will remember his MHS coworkers like he does with his former students! I wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

Gary Hagedorn, MHS co-worker and teacher, added, “Coach Turner came to MHS Social Studies during a time of great need, and was instrumental in DOUBLING and TRIPLING EOC scores for the Department from their prior performance………..affirming once again that the ‘old school” practices of having the student’s focusing on lecture, notes, hard work, discipline, and paying attention have still not gone out of vogue in our modern era of digital tools.

How will he be missed?  The ways are too numerous to list, but here is a brief attempt:
Roger has been the MHS ‘go-to’ guy for Activity Supervision for many years, giving up his evenings and weekends traveling at the drop of a hat to any away Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Soccer and other sports to help ensure students have a safe and memorable experiences.

As a Driver’s Education teacher, he likely possesses the funniest and yet most harrowing stories of students and learning at MHS!!!  Ask him about Driver’s Ed sometime…….and hold on for the ride!!!

Among his many accomplishments is being a Co-Founder of MHS National History Day, and growing a year-long Capstone Project and national competition (from non-existence four years ago) into an on-going program. This year Coach Turner guided 160 MHS Social Studies students thru this program………...some who made it all the way to State!!!

Lastly, and equally as important as all of the above, the MHS Social Studies teachers who remain have had the benefit of accessing his 30+ years of experience as it has transformed itself into a more effective learning environment……...and for this…...each of us are most thankful.

Coach Roger Turner……..on behalf of MHS Social Studies……..we shall all miss your conversations, wit, and humor!!! Godspeed in your new adventures!”
Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for the impact you have had on student learning at MHS!