More long-term R-2 educators submit retirement notices as 2017 closes

Dave Marner

Five more long-time Gasconade County R-2 School District educators have filed notices of retirement this month.

R-2 Board of Education directors on Monday accepted resignations effective at the end of the 2017-18 school year from high school teachers Jean Baker (vocal music) and Sherri White (art) and Owensville Elementary teachers Carla McKinney (Title 1 intervention), Valery Wright (kindergarten) and Lori Nolen (fourth grade). Oleta Rhoads, who has taught high school language arts in the district this year, will also retire next spring to conclude a 29-year teaching career.

They join three high school teachers who submitted retirement notices in November including Connie Warden (director of library sciences for the district), Mike Koepke (vocational agriculture) and Patricia Peets (language arts).

Mark “Pete” Jett, physical education instructor at Gerald Elementary, also submitted a resignation letter last month.

Combined, these educators have 188.5 years of teaching service in the district and 274.5 years of classroom experience overall.

Warden has been teaching or handling librarian duties across the district for 31 years. She has been at the high school the past 15 years. Wright has several taught different grades between both elementary schools for 26.5 years. McKinney and Jett have been in elementary education locally for 24 years each with McKinney preparing to cap off 32 years in Missouri education.

White has taught art at Owensville High School for 22 years and 29 years overall including three years each in New Haven and St. Clair. Nolen has spent 20 of her 28 years in an OES classroom. The other eight were spent in Illinois.

Baker has spent 16 years of her 32 years as an educator in the R-2 district with 22 years in Missouri schools and 10 in West Virginia.

Koepke and Peets have both been at OHS for 12 years. Koepke will be leaving after 26 years in vo-ag education including his eight years at St. James and six in Steelville. Peets taught another four years in Missouri prior to joining the OHS staff.

R-2 directors also accepted resignations from two administrators. 

John Fortney, assistant principal at the high school, will be leaving to take the high school principal’s position at Monroe City, Mo.

Kent Sherrow, who is completing his fourth year as principal at OES, is departing at the end of the school year to take a superintendent’s position in Viburnum.

“Living the dream,” said Sherrow on Tuesday. “I’m pretty excited. They have so many good things going on in their school. So many positive things going on in their community. I’m very excited.”

Sherrow is completing his 22nd year in education and is happy with what has been accomplished here.

“Our school had a lot of growth this past year and I just want to keep that going,” he said as he prepares for a family relocation and the new challenge as a superintendent.

R-2 directors also voted to  accept the resignations of Hillary Blasko as the high school dance team’s coach, and Rita Lough, an OES evening custodian. Directors also voted to employee retired teacher Denise Peth as a substitute teacher, Julie Aytes as a substitute cook, and Milisa Scott as a substitute Aide.

Crystal Ely and Kayla Lowder were also offered faculty positions for the 2018-19 school year. Glenn Ely abstained from voting.