An honorary 'Mole Queen'
A combined 111 years of teaching excellence, 58 of those years at Storm Lake, were honored at the annual Storm Lake Community Schools' retirement party, held on Wednesday, June 2. Retirees honored included: Janelle Gustafson, high school special education teacher for 21 years; Mike Ingram, middle school industrial arts and driver's education instructor for 16 years; Everly Post, high school science and math teacher for 11 years; and Susan Briggs, high school special education teacher for 10 years.
"It is always difficult to see good people go, but they have all deserved their retirement," said high school principal, Mike Hanna. Hanna also noted that all three services the teaching professionals provided, namely science, special education, and driver's education, are challenging positions to fill with qualified people.
Nearly 300 current and former Storm Lake Community School staff members attended the breakfast held on Wednesday to honor their colleagues. Each retiree was presented with a plaque commemorating the event, as well
as Certificates of Recognition from the Storm Lake Education Association. The students of the Storm Lake Community School District presented their retiring teachers with Universal Retirement Calendars, in which every day is a Saturday.
Mike Ingram, who has taught at Storm Lake Middle School since 1988, graduated from Northwest Missouri State and began teaching driver's education in 1973, and has done so every summer since then. He plans to continue on with the Storm Lake driver's education program for the next two to three years. As an industrial technology teacher, he has never had a major accident.
"His most significant contribution to Storm Lake Schools has been more important than lab experiments and textbooks... he has been a positive role model for our students," said middle school principal Ron Bryan.
Ingram is looking forward to his summer break. "The whole hour of it I get before the first driver's ed. class starts," he joked.
Susan Briggs, a native of Storm Lake who graduated with a BA from Buena Vista University and her Master's from Drake University, taught special education for 24 years, 14 of those at Fort Dodge and Cherokee, and ten at Storm Lake High School.
"I am glad to have been able to spend the last ten years of my journey back where I started," said Briggs.
One of her colleagues noted that she was somebody who could always be counted on to do the job right in special education. Susan has five children and five grandchildren she plans on spending time with in her retirement. She also has plans to visit her mother, travel, read, go antiquing and fishing.
Everly Post, a 29 year veteran of the math and science field, obtained her degree from Northwestern, and her Master's from the University of South Dakota. She is certified in a variety of subjects, some of which include biology, chemistry, physics, math, government, and history.
In the Storm Lake chemistry classroom, she has been the honorary "Mole Queen," every year on October 23, which is "Mole Day," according to chemists. During her retirement, Post looks forward to doing things outdoors, farming, spending time with her parents, and various other "experiments at home."
"Once a chemist, always a chemist," remarked one of her colleagues.
Janelle Gustafson has spent 25 years in education, 21 of those at Storm Lake as a special education instructor. She earned her degree at Westmar College, and her Master's at the University of South Dakota.
At Storm Lake, she dealt with students who had behavior difficulties, and according to her fellow teachers, always remained positive. "She has served the district well," said Principal Hanna.
During her retirement, Janelle has plans to golf and travel to Arizona, as well as visit her two daughters and two grandchildren.
The last day for these retirees was Wednesday, and Superintendent Bill Kruse speaks for staff and students at the Storm Lake School District by stating, "We're going to miss them all."