New Albany News

Eight expected to retire at end of school year

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Eight employees will retire from the New Albany-Plain Local School District at the end of this school year.

They include four teachers, two food-service employees, a guidance counselor and a secretary. Two of the teachers have been district employees for 35 years.

All of them contributed to the education of children, Superintendent April Domine said.

"Every year when you have teachers who have given so much for so long to the district and are highly respected and cared about, it's a great loss to the district," Domine said. "We're constantly looking for high-quality people with a balance of expertise. At times, we replace them with new teachers, but we do find some with many years of experience."

Mike Covey, president of the Plain Local Education Association, the teachers union, said as the teachers leave, the district "continues to reap the difference that they have made in our lives and those of our students."

35 years with

the district

Fourth-grade teacher Ron Whitacre and wellness teacher and high school baseball coach Bob Talpas have been employed by the district for 35 years.

Whitacre started his career in New Albany teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math at New Albany Middle School. He said he directed the school's science fair and started the middle school's algebra program.

He said he decided to teach fourth grade when the school district piloted a team-teaching approach.

Whitacre said he started a recycling program led by students at the elementary school. Students donate funds collected from the recyclables to organizations that support endangered animals, a cause that earned a Keep America Beautiful award in 2000.

"It has been a great pleasure and honor to work for the same school system all these years," Whitacre said. "I now have former students who are teachers in the system and many children of former students coming into my class each year.

"In retirement, I will work part time, find a way to continue to have fun with science and spend time with 10 grandchildren."

Talpas said he taught physical education and health.

He also worked for 10 years as the athletics director for the high school and middle school and oversaw construction of New Albany High School.

He also coached football for 26 years, basketball for four years and baseball for 26 years. He was inducted into the Mid-State League Hall of Fame in 2005, the New Albany Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Central District Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

He said he plans to travel, play golf and spend more time with his wife, Cheryl, though he will continue as an assistant coach in football and baseball.

30 years

Guidance counselor Ronda Anderson spent the past 30 years at New Albany-Plain Local, most of it working with elementary students.

She is a member of the district's Eagle Crisis Response team, which helps teachers, students and families deal with deaths and other tragedies that can affect members of the district, district spokesman Patrick Gallaway said.

A military veteran, Anderson was instrumental in organizing many events for military personnel, most recently a dinner last fall for military families, Gallaway said.

15 years or less

Frances Robbins, known as "Sam" to her students, has been with New Albany 15 years, and is responsible for starting the high school humanities class and the photography program.

Two of the retirees worked 12 years in the district.

Sally McIntosh worked part time this year in food services and Carol Shelton was a guidance department secretary.

David Herman will retire after 11 years at New Albany. He taught the first Cisco Networking honors class, a program sponsored by the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, through which students can receive actual computer certifications.

"It has, without doubt, been the most personally and professionally rewarding chapter of my life," Herman said.

Herman said after retiring he will work as a part-time teacher in the Cisco Networking Academy at New Albany High School.

The final retiree is Shirley Oyler, who worked as a cafeteria aide for the past five years and was part time this year.

A celebration for all retiring workers is scheduled May 30 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

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