They probably won’t miss the grading, the lesson planning, or the endless meetings, but what our group of retirees will miss are the many faces of children and colleagues they have met over the years.
This week marks the end of the 2019-2020 school year, and the District will say goodbye to almost 240 long-time employees. This group of retires has a combined 4,918 years of service to NISD, and 5,864 years of service in education.
Typically, on-campus celebrations and a big District Recognition and Retirement event are held to commemorate their milestones, but of course, this is not a typical year. The District hopes to reschedule the District-wide recognition for early fall if possible.
Don VanWinkle, Principal Coach in the Teaching and Learning Department, is retiring after 35 years in the District. VanWinkle is also a product of the District and attended Glenn and Powell elementary schools, Ross Middle School, and Holmes High School. He either taught or served as an administrator at Knowlton, Galm, McDermott, Howsman, Valley Hi, Oak Hills Terrace, and Wanke elementary schools.
VanWinkle opened Wanke Elementary School as its first principal in 2006. One of his best career memories is on the first day of school, after dealing with a lot of opening day duties, he walked outside for a perimeter walk.
“When I got to the back area of the property, the entire construction crew and District folks gave a resounding cheer,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I couldn’t wait to tell the staff about that and explain the crew’s thanks to the teachers, parents, and partners for being such team players. After the tireless efforts late into the previous night to open the school on time, it hit me at that moment as to what this team of incredible people made happen.”
“My hope has always been to impact kids in a positive way by being a good role model and someone who made them feel special,” VanWinkle added. “That also goes for the teachers and staff members and, for the last few years, principals and other teammates I have been blessed to work with and for.”
Susan Warring, principal’s secretary/bookkeeper at Fernandez Elementary School, is retiring after 22 years on that campus.
"Susan was the heart and soul of the Fernandez community and she will be hard to replace," says Chaisleigh Southworth, campus principal. "She will be missed tremendously at Fernandez as she was one of the cornerstones of our campus. We wish her all the best as she starts the next chapter of her life - enjoying time cross-stitching and playing with her grandbabies."
Warring says she plans to “play house” again, ride her bicycle, power walk, and cross stich most days, as well as visit out-of-state grandchildren. “I have many wonderful memories at Fernandez, but the best one has to be the surprise retirement parade the staff had for me on May 29,” she said.
Jacqueline Moehle, counselor secretary at Folks Middle School, has worked in education for 23 years starting at Northwest Crossing Elementary School, and opening three new middle schools during her career: Luna, Jefferson, and Folks middle schools.
“Some of my favorite memories are walking into the Alternative Learning Environment classrooms and being included in whatever lessons they were being taught,” she said. “I will truly miss the students and great staff, but I embark on a new adventure that includes spending more quality time with my family, expanding my ministry, and traveling around the world.”
We thank all of our dedicated employees for their commitment and dedicated service to the children of Northside ISD and wish them the best in their retirement.
To celebrate during these unusual times, some departments have held retirement celebrations virtually and with drive-by parades.