Among the eight Grandview Heights City School District staffers retiring this year are a secretary who has lived in the community for 40 years and a teacher who calls Grandview his "second home."

Tony Thivener has taught for 30 years at Grandview Heights High School.

"It's where I've taught my entire career, except for my first year," he said.

Thivener was an English teacher for his first 13 years at Grandview, then served 14 years as the school's Work Program coordinator. The past two years, he has taught the freshman seminar class.

"I feel fortunate. This has been an incredible place to work," he said. "There's no other place like it.

"Someone might ask how can I know that since I've pretty much only taught in Grandview," Thivener said. "Well, we all talk to our peers who teach in other districts. It's clear after you talk to them that this place is unique."

Most teachers leave Grandview only on retirement, he said.

"We know that the grass is greener here," Thivener said.

The stable roster of teachers and support staff "helps build a true culture of teamwork, collaboration and support," he said. "We get to know and trust each other, so we're comfortable asking questions and seeking guidance from one another."

Administrators and school board members treat teachers with respect and as professionals in Grandview, Thivener said.

Then there is the community itself.

"As teachers, we are lucky to have a community that supports its schools," he said. "Our students are wonderful young people. They know they are loved and valued by their teachers and they respond by thriving."

Recently, Thivener said, he was talking with some of his colleagues about former students who come back to visit.

"That's one of the most rewarding parts of being a teacher," he said. "When someone comes back and shares what they have accomplished and the goals they have reached, it's an amazing feeling to reflect and think that you perhaps played a small part in helping them lead a happy and fulfilling life."

Thivener said he has not set plans for retirement.

"I had been worrying about what I was going to do, the need to find a part-time job, but then a former colleague who's retired emailed me and said, 'just relax and enjoy this time.'

"That's what I've been doing," he said. "All the other stuff will fall into place. Right now, I'm just enjoying the end of my time as a teacher.

"The main thing I want to say is just: Thank you, Grandview," Thivener said.

Stevenson Elementary School secretary Lue Bauer is retiring after 15 years with the district.

The final days of school "have been a little difficult," she said. "I'm going to miss being here every day. I'm going to miss the students, especially."

Bauer and her husband, Jeff, have lived in Grandview for 40 years.

"All three of my children went through this school and this district," she said. "Two of them still live in Grandview. My grandson goes to school at Stevenson. This community has meant everything to my family."

Before coming to Stevenson, Bauer worked as a preschool director in Upper Arlington.

"I love working with young children," she said. "Their enthusiasm rubs off on you."

As an elementary school secretary, "I get to see them come in as kindergartners so excited and a little scared," Bauer said. "Then you get to watch them grow up into confident third-graders."

A elementary school secretary serves as a sort of surrogate mother to students -- "although in my case, it's grandmother," she said.

"Every day I have students come in the office and give me a hug," Bauer said. "I'm really going to miss getting those hugs."

Stevenson is a special school, she said.

"We have such a dedicated group of teachers," Bauer said.

"They make this a place where the students are excited to be."

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