• Last modified 1009 days ago (May 20, 2021)


Longtime teachers retire

Staff writer

A bunch of longtime teachers are retiring from the Hillsboro school district this spring.

Debbie Dick has been teaching at Hillsboro Elementary School for 37 years, including 22 in first grade, eight in second grade, and seven in third grade.

She gets a lot of satisfaction from seeing students make sense of difficult concepts.Keeping up with constantly changing technology has been her biggest challenge.

“Learning new apps and programs has made teaching more time consuming but also more engaging for the students,” she said.

She and her husband plan to do some traveling and spend more time with their children and grandchildren. She is open to accepting part-time work if the “right” job comes along.

Bob Woelk’s career as an English teacher spans 31 years, but not all at Hillsboro. After a year at Hillsboro, he taught at Goessel for nine years. He returned to Hillsboro in 1999.

“I became a teacher because I enjoy interacting with young people,” he said. “That is still true.”

He loves writing and literature and is thrilled to see when a student learns something new. He said his approach to teaching has evolved over the years.

“I think teens have many more distractions these days,” he said. “I have also sensed a growing feeling of entitlement. They have so many more sources of information readily available, and not all of it has their best interests at heart.”

Woelk lives in a 110-year-old house, so he suspects there will be plenty to do to maintain it. He and his wife plan to make use of their camper. He may do some free-lance editing or writing.

Stephanie Sinclair is retiring after 33 years of teaching mainly seventh- and eighth-grade math.

She said working with students and families on numerous projects are memories she will cherish: “Laughter, smiles, learning, families, relationships have remained through time, students’ weddings and babies, helping former students with teaching questions, student teacher from Tabor, and all my teaching friends.”

Sinclair coached middle- school volleyball for 32 years, winning several league championships and witnessing them going on to win state titles. She also has been a softball coach for 22 years, 13 as head coach.

“We have had many successes on and off the field,” she said.

In addition to her teams being state champions in 2012 and state runner up in 2014 and 15, she is most proud of their accomplishments after they graduated.

“These girls serve many people in the world, now,” she said.

Change is hard but also fun, she said. She missed doing normal things in the classroom in 2020 and did not enjoy being tied to a computer to teach.

She plans on hiking and spending time with grandchildren. She also plans to move, travel, read, and find another fun job.

“I love teaching and coaching,” she said.

Darlene Bartel has taught middle and high school science for 28 years. She has enjoyed the relationships she has formed with students and staff.

“I enjoy seeing the teen-agers I teach become adults, and I hope in some small way I have been a positive influence in their lives.”

She is finishing her career at the end of a COVID-challenged year.

“It has been a challenging year to say the least,” she said. “I feel that we have done a great job under some unique circumstances.”

Bartel plans to do substitute teaching. She hopes to spend more time with her out-of-town children and their families and going to her grandchildren’s activities. She also loves to travel, garden, and sew. She is looking into opportunities for volunteer work.

Eleanor Jost has taught at Hillsboro for 29 years, her first year at Durham and a return to Hillsboro after three years in a Centre elementary school at Pilsen. Helping students learn how to read has been the highlight of her experience.

Her biggest challenge came this past year, including wearing a mask and social distancing. She also taught quarantined students remotely.

She intends to pursue time with family, gardening, decluttering her home, sewing, helping her husband with his business, and exploring family history.

Last modified May 20, 2021