Charles City School staff celebrates the end of the year
By Travis Fischer, firstname.lastname@example.org
While the students of the Charles City Community School District were enjoying their first taste of summer break, the teachers and support staff had a celebration of their own, gathering in the Comet Gym for what was described as the first of an annual employee achievement celebration.
Each of the district’s building principals spoke about the achievements of their students throughout the year and the work their teachers put in to getting them there.
“We’ve had some really amazing staff,” said middle school Principal Joe Taylor.
The administrators’ list of accomplishments ranged from making sure preschoolers are ready for kindergarten to improving the high school graduation rate.
Special recognition was given to the teachers and support staff celebrating milestones in the district. Joe Ferch, Brooke Hamm, Bryan Jurrens, Jennifer Kuhen, Shaley Landt, Susan Leeper, Kelvin Marvin, Cady Mead, Chealsey Moen, Jenni Mohs, Alex Nordmeyer and Lindsey Staudt were recognized for five years of service to the district.
Celebrating 10 years were Kelli Bohlen, Renee Boss, Heather Kowalski, Jerry Mitchell and Amanda Rahmiller.
At 15 years were Teresa Jensen, Brandy Mutch, Sara Wiegmann and Michelle Williams.
With 20 years under their belt there were Josh Dean, Wendy LaBarge, Ryan Rahmiller, Brad Ritter and Lee Shafer.
Kellie Boggess and Sue Hoefer were both recognized for their 25 years in the district and Jim Lundberg was honored for his four decades of service.
The school also recognized the retirement of several outgoing staff.
Michelle Grob spent 27 years teaching in Davis County before moving to Charles City in 2017 to take on the Talented and Gifted Program. Over the last six years she’s worked to revitalize the TAG program and has inspired great success out of the district’s drama students, serving as head drama director and head speech coach.
Her time with the district will end on a high note as this year’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is recognized for Outstanding Musical Production next week in the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Program.
Kent Fisher spent 29 years working for Terex Cranes in Waverly before coming into the district to take care of the buildings and grounds in 2016. After seven years in the district he is looking forward to spending his free time doing some farming.
Brenda Marpe is a Charles City graduate who returned to the school in 2011 as a substitute paraeducator after retiring from her career as a loan officer. She was brought on full time in 2015 to serve as the high school’s library associate and has enjoyed working with students and encouraging a love of reading since. After 12 years with the district, Marpe is looking forward to spending more time with her husband along with camping and fishing.
Sheila Devereaux began her career in Charles City in 2009 as a paraeducator in the high school, moving over to the middle school in 2017 to serve as a library associate. After 14 years in the district, Devereaux is looking forward to sleeping in and spending more time with family activities.
Wendy LaBarge joined Charles City in 2003 after 10 years teaching math at SCMT in Sheffield. Since then, LaBarge has spent the last 20 years contributing to the district as a teacher, a coach and even working with her husband, Tim, on the school’s buildings and grounds. She is looking forward to spending more time with her friends and family, while also keeping busy as a loan processor for First Citizens Bank.
Rusty Rogotzke has served different roles during his 21 years in the district. Starting as a driver’s education teacher, he was brought on as a physical education teacher in 2007 and has served the district in that role since. Along with PE, he’s enjoyed coaching sports at various levels and has spent the last six years greeting the students every day as they come through the doors.
Julie Heddens started her career in Charles City as a substitute paraeducator and has spent the last 24 years working with students both in their academics and athletics. Retiring earlier this fall, Heddens has spent her time visiting with her children and grandchildren and is looking forward to future travels with her husband.
Coming into Lincoln Elementary as a student teacher in 1989, Erik Hoefer has spent most of his life teaching in Charles City. He’s spent much of the last 34 years as a fifth-grade teacher in Washington Elementary, but has also served as a sixth-grade teacher, a third-grade teacher and eighth-grade English teacher during his time in the district. A prolific middle school athletic coach and “The Voice of the Comets,” Hoefer has been deeply involved in school athletics while also utilizing his artistic side as the pit orchestra conductor for the high school’s musicals.
Steve Stallsmith joined Charles City in 1989 and has spent the last 34 years teaching physical education to students in the district. Along with four years in middle school PE and 30 years teaching the subject in high school, Stallsmith also enjoyed a brief two year period where he taught psychology in the school.
Beyond PE, Stallsmith has spent decades coaching Comets in a range of athletics from wrestling to football to track and field. He has been named Coach of the Year several times during his career, including 1996, when he led the Comets through a 9-0 season.
Second-grade teacher Janet Delap is retiring after 36 years in the district. A Charles City native, she has spent her entire career in the district and is now looking forward to retiring to Des Moines to spend more time with her children and grandchildren.
Finally, Jim Lundberg is retiring after 40 years of service to the Charles City Community School District.
Lundberg joined the district as a high school ag teacher and FFA advisor in 1983 with the intent of staying on for two years. Instead, he’s spent the last four decades helping students learn about agriculture, prepare for fairs, and advance through the FFA program. He has mentored generations of colleagues over the years and, along with watching his students grow, been responsible for planting thousands of trees through the Trees Forever partnership.
Lundberg said he was privileged to work for many years alongside his wife, Dené Lundberg, a FCS teacher who retired in 2018. They are now looking forward to spending more time with their granddaughters.
Before filing out for one last lunch of the school year, Superintendent Dr. Anne Lundberg thanked everybody for their efforts in exemplifying Comet pride.
“This has been an amazing year,” said Lundberg. “I’m proud of you, I really mean that. And I’m proud to be able to serve as your superintendent. I really mean that, too.”