Letter to the Pilot

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

A wonderful Six Years

Graduation for the class of 2002 is only a few days away as I write this... and in some ways, I feel like I'm graduating also. After over 30 years in public education I get to "graduate" and enter into a new phase of my life called retirement.

As I look back at those past 30 years I think of all the times that I contemplated retiring. First when I was 25, but then realized I had to make some money in order to retire; then at 35, but alas, I had a family to support and children to raise; and then again at 45, but my children reminded me that they expected me to help support them in college before I could become a professional beach bum!

So much for the fantasies of youthful adulthood. Humor aside, the real truth is that I have really loved being in education, working with some wonderful and exceptionally dedicated teachers, administrators, and school board members, and especially working with the kids - whether they were in my classes as a teacher, or in the buildings where I have been a principal or a superintendent.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed all the years I have been in education, I have felt the most personal gratification in the past six years... being associated with the students, staff and community of the Aurelia Community School.

When I first came to this district I had a sense that this was a special community with a special school. By the end of my first year, that sense, or feeling if you will, was solidly confirmed. By the end of my second year, I knew that this was the district that I intended to serve up to the time I made the decision to retire. That promise to myself is one that I'm proud to have kept.

When I announced my intended retirement to the board there were questions as to whether I was serious - or just thinking about moving up to a bigger district in a couple of years. I can assure you - as I did our school board - that after being associated with the Aurelia Community School, any other district would be a step backward for me - and probably quite a "let down" in comparison!

I'm very proud of what we have accomplished as a school district in the past six years. We have looked at options of sharing with both Cherokee and Alta - and have, thanks to an extremely supportive community, remained solidly independent. Our student achievement scores have remained high and our graduates continue to successfully pursue continued learning opportunities at community colleges, and at state colleges and universities. The successes that are reported to us from graduates entering the workplace indicate that we are doing an exceptional job of preparing our students for their adult lives.

I'm also very proud of our staff. The Aurelia Community School has some of the finest teachers and support staff that I have had the pleasure of working with. Their dedication to our children is phenomenal! The nurturing, caring and encouragement that our children receive, along with the traditional classroom instruction, contributes greatly toward the successes and accomplishments of our students...

I would really be remiss if I didn't mention one other factor that has made these past few years wonderful for me - a board of directors who are truly dedicated to providing the best for the children of our community. The board members I have worked with over the past six years have always made our children their top priority, and each year I have seen continued growth in their dedication and commitment to maintaining high standards and expectations for our students, and providing the best educational opportunities we can for our children and our community.

My thanks to all of you who have made my years with the Aurelia Community School enjoyable and rewarding - I will often be thinking of you, the school and our community.

Bill Crumbaugh,