Woodland celebrated its retirees during its annual All Staff Luncheon on Friday, June 17
As the end of the 2021-2022 school year approaches, Woodland Public Schools recognizes retiring employees who will end their careers after decades of serving the community and ensuring all children receive a high-quality education.
Read on to learn how each of the following retirees who worked five or more years for Woodland Public Schools dedicated themselves to honing their craft and providing for students in a variety of ways throughout the district (ordered alphabetically by last name).
Jody Brentin – 16 YearsRegistrar – Woodland Public Schools (District)
Jody Brentin served as district registrar, helping to enroll new students as well as process any requests families may have including out-of-district transfers and so much more.
Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:
Kathy Burns – 13 Years School Bus Driver – KWRL Transportation Cooperative
Kathy Burns, a lifelong resident of La Center, graduated from La Center High School in 1977 and knows her way around the area like none other.
Mark Greenleaf – 19 YearsTeacher – Woodland High School
Mark Greenleaf has served as a teacher at Woodland High School for nearly two decades. Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:
Heather Gordon – 13 Years Teacher – Woodland High School
Heather Gordon has served as a teacher at Woodland High School for 13 years. Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:
Dennis (Mike) Hugo – 5 YearsSchool Bus Driver – KWRL Transportation Cooperative
Mike Hugo has served as a bus driver for KWRL for five years. Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:
Steven Miller – 6 YearsCustodian – Woodland High School
Steven Miller has served as a custodian at Woodland High School for six years. Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:
C David Moses– 25 Years Teacher – Woodland Middle School
David Moses served as a teacher at Woodland Middle School for 25 years. Following graduation from high school, he coached athletics where he developed an insight into working with kids. “My wife had been in education in college, so I got glimpses into what teaching was like in helping her a little bit with class projects,” he remembered. “After several years, I had been funneled in the direction of teaching, and many little paths led to my main one!”
For Moses, the interactions he shared with his students will be what he misses most following retirement, “You just never know what they’ll do on any given day and each day is different,” he said. “You get to deal with kids who have different backgrounds, hobbies, dreams, and so on; it is going to be the toughest thing to replace.”
During retirement, Moses plans to stay busy… incredibly busy. “I have about 83 directions I am dreaming of – food truck, podcasting, golf, you ministry, karaoke singer, golf, ping pong champion, landscaper, excavation person, combine driver, golf,” he said. “But first, I’ll be like Thanos from The Avengers movies, ‘sit back and watch the sun set on a grateful universe.’”
Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:
Geoffrey Nelson – 22 Years Teacher – Woodland Middle School
Geoffrey Nelson spent 22 years as a science teacher in Woodland Middle School. While studying business and engineering in college, he discovered that his talents aligned more closely with education, “Working in education provided me with an avenue for my interests which included working with students, drama, art, American history, photography, and, in the end, the area I enjoyed most – science.”
Nelson spent a lot of his career teaching fifth grade. “I often combined different subjects including reading, art, and writing into creative hands-on science experiments that demonstrated concepts, like convection, by having students build hot-air balloons made from tissue paper,” he remembered. “As I get closer to my retirement, I admit that I will miss teaching very much as well as the many students and friends I have come to know over the years; one of the nice things about becoming a retired teacher is that I can still substitute.”
In retirement, Nelson plans to getting back in touch with the outdoors, doing yardwork, and performing some of his fitness goals, “Teaching at Woodland School District these last 22 years has been an honor and a pleasure, and I will miss it very much.”
Williana (Yonnie) Nichols – 6 YearsSchool Bus Driver – KWRL Transportation Cooperative
Williana (Yonnie) Nichols has driven school buses for KWRL since 2016, covering all grades K-12 with routes throughout Ridgefield. Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:
Marilyn Paul – 30+ yearsParaeducator – Columbia Elementary School
Marilyn Paul spent more than three decades serving students at Columbia Elementary School, working in a variety of classrooms and a variety of students. Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:
Ed Sorensen – 13 YearsCustodian – North Fork Elementary School
Ed Sorensen served as a custodian for North Fork Elementary School for 13 years. When he retired in October 2021, the students threw him a parade to thank him for his years of dedication and friendship.
Sharon Stuart – 25 Years Paraeducator – Yale Elementary School
Sharon Stuart served as a paraeducator at Yale Elementary School for 25 years. After helping her mom teach first grade Sunday School classes at age 16, she knew she wanted to go into teaching as a profession.
For Stuart, she will miss her colleagues and students the most after she retires, “Working in such a small remote school like Yale means you get to see kids grow up from little kindergartners to fourth graders who are ready to move on to Woodland’s schools.”
During retirement, Stuart initially plans to take some time off… at least a day. “I plan to stay in bed and be lazy the first day after school is out, but then, my husband and I are looking forward to the birth of our sixth granddaughter,” she said. “I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with all of my family.”
Robin Uhlenkott – 23 Years Teacher – Woodland Middle School
Robin Uhlenkott has served as a teacher at Woodland Middle School for 23 years. She decided to pursue a career in education because of her own fondness of school as a student. “I had a lot of great teachers who made me enjoy learning,” she remembers. “I wanted to try to make school that enjoyable for other students.”
For Robin, her favorite memories from teaching involve time with other teachers and students. “I enjoyed getting to know and teach the thousands of Woodland kids who passed through my classroom throughout my career,” she said. “I will miss being challenged every day to my very best to serve my students.”