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School retirees, employees appreciated for service

School retirees, employees appreciated for service

April 25th, 2018 by Michelle Brooks in Local News

School Board President Philip Burger and member Derek VanLoo serve ice cream to California school district employees April 20 at the employee appreciation reception.

Photo by Michelle Brooks /News Tribune.

A steak dinner, complete with ice cream served by board members and administrators, expressed appreciation for California school's more than 190 employees April 20.

While a slide show of positive comments about fellow teachers and staff ran on the screens in the California High School commons area, they took time to recognize retirees, others leaving the district and employees who have reached a milestone.

Jennifer Herndon will complete her 33rd year in education next month. She is retiring to spend time with her new grandson.

This fall, she said she will miss her coworkers, students and the excitement of a new challenge.

"I was not in a hurry to retire," she said. But, "I look forward to babysitting."

The last 13 years, Herndon taught math, reading and social studies. Beyond the academics, she said she hopes she helped educate students in life skills, like getting along with others.

Fellow sixth-grade teacher Andrea Johnson called Herndon "a dedicated, strong force in education" whose "professionalism was always present."

"She was a constant inspiration who helped the sixth grade team thrive," Johnson said.

Gail Parker has been a cook at the high school for 10 years and was a substitute teacher one year before that.

"Everyday you learn something new," she said of the job. She will miss "the surprises; we've had a lot of laughter and a lot of good times."

Parker has planned a road trip to Branson to take in some shows and then to Oklahoma to see family.

Staff reaching five, 10, 20 and 25 years service were given a pin and certificate.

Outgoing school board members, Jay VanDieren and Paul Bloch, also were recognized.