SASD retiring educators

Kegonsa library media specialist Nancy Beszhak works with students at the library on Tuesday. Beszhak is one of 11 educators retiring later this month who has spend significant time working in the district.

As the Stoughton Area School District bids farewell to 11 retiring educators next month, the schools will feel the loss.

Nearly 300 years of experience in SASD will be walking out the doors with them.

Many of the retiring teachers said they got started in education because of the positive experiences and relationship they had with their own teachers, something they hope they continued in their careers.

Kegonsa library media specialist Nancy Beszhak, wrapping up her 29th year in the district, told the Hub in an email she got interested in the profession because both her parents were educators and “lived their lives demonstrating the importance of education.” She also credited her first-grade teacher, Mrs. Stecker.

“(She) made learning so much fun, after first grade I wanted to be an elementary teacher,” Beszhak wrote. “Being a guide to their journey of learning is so rewarding.”

Fox Prairie third-grade teacher Jean Rude, in her 27th year in the district, told the Hub she “can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to become a teacher.”

“Each student is a unique individual who requires different instruction and approaches,” she wrote in an email. “Every day left me with wanting and wishing that I was able to do more for my students.”

Kegonsa second-grade teacher Dawn Anderson is finishing her 23rd year in the district. She said she first became interested in teaching when she was in middle school, thanks to some inspiring teachers.

“They showed so much excitement and love of what they were doing, it just rubbed off on the students,” she wrote. “I decided then and there I wanted to be an educator of children. Since I enjoyed the curiosity and innocence of younger children through babysitting, I wanted to become a second-grade teacher.”

SHS psychologist Mary Grace Ott, in her 31st year in the district, wrote that she first got interested in teaching because of her mother, who was a teacher who “loved to be with children.” She said when she was in school, she became aware and sensitive about students “who seemed to be struggling.”

“These two things drew me into the field of special education, first as a teacher and then as a school psychologist,” she wrote the Hub. “The best part about being a school psychologist is having the privilege to listen to others talk about their lives and to help them process what they are going through.”

Sandhill kindergarten teacher Beth Robbins, who has taught 29 years in the district, said the best thing about her job was watching young children who aren’t yet reading when they begin the year “blossom into readers.”

“It’s such a joy to me,” she wrote in an email. “It is like watching a child take their first step or speak their first word.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at

Retiring SASD educators

Name Position Year
Dawn Anderson Kegonsa second-grade teacher 29
Nancy Beszhak Kegonsa library media specialist 29
Bonnie Bobb SHS business teacher 28
Nancy DeRango SHS language arts teacher 23
Alice MacKenzie River Bluff reading teacher 18
Mary Grace Ott SHS psychologist 31
Laura Plutchak Fox Prairie second-grade teacher 29
Beth Robbins Sandhill kindergarten teacher 29
Jean Rude Fox Prairie third-grade teacher 27
Chris Schultz SHS math teacher 28
Lee Wagner River Bluff band teacher 20