With the school year coming to a close, students are preparing to move on to the next grade level, next school or next chapter in their lives.
Also moving onto something new in their lives are Oxford’s 18 retiring teachers and staff-members after a collective 387 years of service.
Retirees were honored during a Board of Education meeting last week.
Retirees include Patrice Bono, Terry Eberlein, Kimberly Kreilach, Karen Kudla, Deborah Harvey, Nancy Latowski, Diane Lukas-Noe, Kelly McMillen, Deborah Morse, Deborah Parker, Sheila Robertson, Rebecca Schauer, Janice Smith, Dave Carson, John Koster, Sharon Brabo, Lisa Dion, and Gerald Campbell.
Here’s a closer look at a few of the retirees:
Dave Carson is an astronomy and physics teacher at Oxford High School, where he has worked for the last 28 years.
“At the very beginning, I said I would always try to enjoy teaching and I was able to do that. It’s nice to leave on a good note,” Carson said.
Carson has been involved in a number of student clubs and currently serves as a sponsor for Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) and as a mentor for the school’s video game club.
As a teacher, Carson said he loved challenging his students to better themselves and hopes they’ll carry those lessons with them throughout their lives.
“I always want to help my students become a better thinker in general. That’s what I’ve always liked about physics . . . it makes people more observant and better problem-solvers,” Carson said. “Students always have to try to figure something out in physics, so my hope is that they’ll think ‘I could figure that out’ instead of thinking ‘Oh, who knows about that’ and giving up,” Carson said.
Carson lives with Kelly, his wife of 28 years, at their Romeo home and together they share three adult children: Megan, Jake and Jenna.
In his retirement, Carson plans to focus more on his hobbies which include working on cars.
But he doesn’t plan to give up teaching altogether quite yet.
Carson said he will likely work a part-time position in teaching at some point in the future.
“I’ve really enjoyed teaching. I know already that I’m really going to miss working with kids. I see them not only during school but after school. That’s going to be the hardest thing to walk away from is the students and getting to show them new stuff all the time,” Carson said.
Bono, who serves as assistant to the superintendent, has worked with the district since 1999.
She has held numerous positions throughout the district including food service substitute, classroom and special education paraprofessional at Lakeville Elementary School and office administrator at Oxford Middle School.
It was through those roles that Bono said she had the opportunity to learn about different departments within the school district and that she has had the chance to grow as a person.
“I’m so proud of the growth the district has had since I started here and just to have been a part of that growth. I’ve been working with some really magnificent people here,” Bono said.
In her retirement, Bono said she is excited to travel the world and spending more time enjoying her hobbies which include canning, cooking, sewing and gardening.
“I just want to spend more time on those fun things in my life,” Bono added.
Bono also said she looks forward to spending more time with her adult daughters, Megan (Bono) Swailes and Samantha (Bono) Klenner, who both graduated from Oxford Schools, along with her six-month-old grandson.
Latowski currently serves as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and is retiring after providing the district with 17 years of service.
Latowski said that she has enjoyed having a hand in helping the district find dedicated teachers and staff members who will help carry on the Wildcat way.
“I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to be involved in the hiring of almost every employee and it’s my absolute love. I love to be able to bring good people in who can do great things for our kids. It’s really been a pleasure,” Latowski said. “I get to know people from the very moment they begin and having those relationships has been really rewarding. I find that, as you retire, you realize how meaningful that really is.”
Latowski, who lives in St. Clair, said she plans to spend her retirement camping with her recently-retired husband, Tom, and traveling around the United States in their travel trailer.
She and Tom also plan to spend more time with their three adult daughters; Kelly, Rachel and Jennifer; and with their two granddaughters who are 5- and 8-years-old.
“We’ll have much more time to do volunteer work and help others and do things that we haven’t had time to do,” Latowski added.
Latowski said she wishes nothing but success to those she’s worked side-by-side with over the last 17 years.
“I will definitely miss the people in the district. I’ve loved being able to work with them and help solve problems. It’s been a wonderful experience working for Oxford Schools. It really has been rewarding. I’ve truly loved every minute of it. It’s been a great experience for me and I feel like I’ve been able to make some positive differences. I’m very confident our district will continue being great,” Latowski said.