SASD retiring staff

Colleen Reilly, shown here with a student earlier this year, is one of several SASD educators retiring at the end of the month. She taught for 29 years in the district.

The 2018-19 school year is winding down for the Stoughton Area School District, but for a handful of staff, so are their careers in the district.

The official end of the school year June 30 will see retirements for teachers Heidi Hubing (27 years in the district), Mary Scott (24) and Colleen Reilly (29), as well as long-time educational assistant Barb Lowe (31) and bus driver Milt Sperle (21).

District superintendent Tim Onsager thanked them for their years of service to the district and “wish them well as they embark upon a new chapter in their lives.”

Colleen Reilly

School/role: River Bluff Middle School seventh grade social studies teacher and block leader.

Years in education SASD: This is my 29th year in Stoughton and I’ve always taught seventh grade social studies in the same block!

What got you interested in a career in education?

I come from a family of teachers; my mother and aunt were teachers. When I was in high school, however, I thought I wanted to be a legal secretary and took those kinds of courses and was in a co-op program my senior year where I worked at a Credit Union in Sun Prairie. It took me one semester of that to realize that office work was not my calling; I started at UW-Madison in the Elementary Ed program and never looked back.

What was your path to the Stoughton Area School District and why did you decide to come here?

To be quite honest, in 1990 I was a young teacher with a 1-8 degree, any subject area, looking for a job; any job. I was from Sun Prairie, but had friends in Stoughton who were in love with the community and encouraged me to apply. At the time, River Bluff didn’t exist; it was Stoughton Middle School — a big old building on North Street with multiple floors and lots of nooks and crannies. I am so fortunate to have been chosen. I am now an “adopted daughter” of Stoughton.

What were the most challenging/satisfying parts about your job?

The most challenging part of my job has been meeting the needs of an ever-diversifying student population. There is no such thing as an “average” student anymore; they come to us with both exceptional talents and amazing capabilities as well as exceptional needs and challenges. The most satisfying parts of my job are too many to count, but I sure love the morning hugs I get from former students on a daily basis as well as the passion I still feel for what I teach; getting a seventh grader to be able to explain the Arab-Israeli conflict still puts a grin on my face.

Do you have a favorite story or two about your time at SASD?

Well, I remember when I was a new teacher that I was able to motivate certain students by doing a cartwheel in front of the class if they turned their work in on time. I also remember in my earlier years when seventh grade would take overnight outdoor education field trips; the whole block would go to (at first) Wyalusing State Park and then, in later years, the MacKenzie Environmental Center in Poynette. On one occasion, we had some rowdy boys who wouldn’t go to sleep and were making plenty of noise. The adult dad that we had brought along as a chaperone requested help. I entered the dorm to find that the boys, in the dark, had wet some of their t-shirts and underpants in the sink and were letting them fly across the room, hoping to soak a friend in another bunk. I had to put an end to that by sitting in a chair in the middle of their dorm in the dark until I could hear them all snoring. Gotta love seventh grade.

What are your plans for retirement?

I am looking forward to being able to travel in the fall and will be driving south to visit family and friends in the New Orleans area. I’ve also got a jewelry-making business that I’m hoping to be able to devote more time to and perhaps get into the craft-show circuit.

Heidi Hubing

School/role: Fox Prairie Elementary School third-grade teacher

Years in education SASD: 7

What were the most challenging/satisfying parts about your job?

I am proud to say that I helped shape lives and had a lot of wonderful people to work with each year.

What are your plans for retirement?

I plan to travel more, spend time with my two grandchildren, family and friends, walk, read, and see what opportunities come my way.

Barb Lowe

School/role: Stoughton High School educational assistant — library

Years in education SASD: 31

What got you interested in a career in education?

After moving back to Wisconsin from Indiana in 1986, I started volunteering at Kegonsa Elementary School in the library for Ruby Hauge, librarian. This is where our three children went to school — twins Rebecca and Melissa in fifth grade, and Nicholas in first grade.

What was your path to the Stoughton Area School District and why did you decide to come here?

My college degree from MATC is medical secretary. There were no medical jobs available in Stoughton when we moved and I decided not to venture into Madison for employment. I volunteered in the Kegonsa library. When there was an opening for a health aide there part time, I interviewed for it and got that job. Having a clerical medical background helped. I was health aid for two years. Then an opening for educational assistant for reading specialists at Kegonsa, a full time position. At second semester 1998 there was an opening for Educational Assistant at the SHS Library. I always was an avid reader. and worked with Lonnie Brown librarian and now Cathy Gargano, library media specialist.

What were the most challenging/satisfying parts about your job?

Most satisfying part of my job is being part of the process for the high school kids who grow, succeed, graduate, and move onto great things.

Do you have a favorite story or two about your time at SASD?

I volunteered as often as I could — in concession stands, especially track and field; FFA activities; was a band volunteer when Nick was in band for four years, a chorus volunteer when our daughters were in chorus; Norwegian Dancer parent when our daughter Rebecca was an accordionist for 3 years. My best friend Mary and I still volunteer for Madrigal dinner and I haven’t missed a year since starting in 1988.

What are your plans for retirement?

Attending more activities our grandchildren are involved in — Katie and Evan in Eau Claire, and Raina in Greenfield. I plan on continuing volunteering for SHS, Stoughton Opera House, and FFA Alumni.