Saying Goodbye: Frenship teachers, staffers set to retire

From left, Kaye Turner, Ray Lashaway and Teresa Janssen received recognition from the Frenship school board for their years of work as teachers during Monday’s meeting. The trio are retiring this year. (Photo by Jim Jarrett)

By Jim Jarrett

From dogs to daily jogs, nine Frenship teachers know what they want to do when they retire.

The retiring and recently-retired teachers were honored at Frenship ISD’s Seventh Annual Recognition and awards Banquet Thursday night.

Teresa Janssen, who is a biology teacher at Frenship, is a dog enthusiast. She plans to take three canines to agility trials.

“My poodle won nationals last year,” she said.

Most teachers said they wanted to spend time with family and friends.

Janet Barber, a former elementary teacher at Bennett, retired in December. Originally, she wanted to get a part-time job, but instead is walking about four miles a day and doing work around the home.

“I am puttering around the house and cooking more than I have. … I enjoy being at home,” she said.

Other retiring teachers said they may return as substitutes. Kaye Turner, who helped begin the life skills classes at Frenship in 1990, would like to spend time as a greeter at a department store.

“I’ve also thought about going to Wal-Mart and being a greeter,” she said. “I’d love that. It’d be right up my alley.”

Judy Allen

Past position: English teacher, Frenship Middle School.

How long have you been in teaching? 18 years.

How many years in Frenship? Judy taught less than a year at Frenship Middle School. She retired early for medical reasons.

Why did you become a teacher? Allen worked in the oil business before deciding to become an English teacher. “I was looking for a new career. I realized I had an English degree I never used. I realized I could apply the English degree to help people learn.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “The discipline was the biggest change I’ve seen and the responsibility more on the teacher and the individual.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? Kids.

What do you plan to do? “I’m not sure yet. I want to go into some career where I think I am contributing to mankind in some way. At this point I am not sure what that will be. I am looking at some options. Really and truly, I am not sure at this point.”

Mahota Richey

Current position: Counselor at North Ridge Elementary.

How long have you been in teaching? 37 years.

How many years in Frenship? 12 years.

Why did you become a teacher? “I had a couple of teachers who discouraged me. I decided I never wanted to have any child be discouraged.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “When you see the child light up and see in their eyes, ‘I got it.’”

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in teaching? “I think teaching has gotten better over the years. I see a lot of positive things. I see teachers gain better training and are more skilled in what they do.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? “I don’t think kids ever change. But society does change. I do see some negative changes there. … On the positive side, I see Frenship and Texas becoming one of the school districts and top states in educating the students.”

What do you plan to do? “My children and grandchildren need me. I’ll be spending a lot of time with my children and grandchildren.”

Retirees honored

Several other Frenship retirees were honored at Frenship ISD’s Seventh Annual Recognition and Awards Banquet Thursday night. They included:

  • Evelyn Boyd, a teacher, spent 26 years in education, retired in December.
  • Maureen Bray, an educational diagnostician, spent 21 years in education.
  • Bill Nelson, who worked in maintenance for 17 years, retired in March.
  • Barbara Rich, nurse at Crestview and Bennett elementaries for 27 years.
  • Jean Gillit, secretary at Willow Bend and Crestview elementaries and teacher’s aide at Casey, retired in December after 21 years.

Source: Frenship ISD

Janet Barber

Recent position: First- and second-grade teacher. Reading SAIL Lab. Remedial reading, fourth- and fifth-grade, Bennett Elementary. Barber retired in December.

How long have you been in teaching? 30 years.

How many years in Frenship? 30 years.

Why did you become a teacher? “I wanted to be a dental hygienist. My mother insisted I get a teaching certificate. When I got into student teaching in first grade, I loved it.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “Getting kids to believe in themselves and realize their capabilities.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “When I started there was no technology. There’s been an explosion of technology.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? “I guess teaching has changed more — the emphasis on testing.”

What are you doing now? “Walking about four miles each day. Today, I am puttering around the house and cooking more than I have. … I enjoy being at home.”

Glenda Combs-Williams

Current position: Teacher, Frenship Middle School.

How long have you been in teaching? “35 years. It’s a long time but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The kids are fabulous.

“I started out in New Mexico on the Navajo reservation in a little village called Tahachi. It’s north of Gallup about 26 miles my first three years.”

Williams also worked in New York City for about two years with a missionary group. “That was a great experience. I grew up a lot. I learned a lot about patience. It made me see that there’s more than one church that has the answer.”

How many years in Frenship? 32 years.

Why did you become a teacher? “I became a teacher because my B.S. degree is in history and I love history. So I wanted to teach history. Secondly, I love children and wanted to make a difference in their lives.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “To feel that you have made a difference in a child’s life.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “All this testing. Testing has become a priority.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? “Teaching. The kids are about the same. They have gadgets now — their phones and games. Their games are more sophisticated.”

What do you plan to do? “The first year, I am going to rest and travel and be with my family. I have an extended family. I have an aunt in Tyler. I have cousins in Arizona. I am Catholic. The next year, I might teach at Christ the King. I don’t know if I am, but I might if I figure that is what my calling is.”

Ray Lashaway

Current position: Band director, Frenship High School and Frenship Middle School.

How long have you been in teaching? 39 years.

How long in Frenship? Nine years. Lashaway also directed bands in Idalou, Snyder, Seminole, Petersburg, New Deal, McCamey, Andrews and at Lubbock OL Slaton.

Why did you become a teacher? “I love music. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I started playing piano when I was 6. I started in band when I was 10. I had a wonderful, wonderful junior high and high school director (Mel Montgomery) in Snyder, Texas, where I grew up. … I just watched him mold my life, mold others’ lives and I wanted to do the same thing.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “Watching young people not knowing which end of a horn to blow in and then seeing them within a year playing music that’s not only recognizable, but is really good. … I’ve had the opportunity of teaching well over 3,500 students in my life.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “The lack of support from home. We still have parents who believe in their kids. But a lot of kids have no support from home. They have no values at home. Whatever they want to do, they do. I’ve just seen that get worse and worse as years went on.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? “Kids are still kids. Teaching has. It’s a different ballgame from when I started. We have so many demands statewide.”

What do you plan to do? “My family is fixing to have an 11th grandchild. I intend to spend time with 11 grandchildren.” He also plans to travel some and fish for trout. “I’m still going to help kids,” said Lashaway.

Kathye Osborne

Current position: Third-grade teacher, Crestview Elementary.

How long have you been in teaching? 17 years.

How many years in Frenship? 15 years.

Why did you become a teacher? “That’s something I always wanted to do. I remember when I was in second grade and that’s when I wanted to be a teacher.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “Helping other children become excited about things they didn’t know about or weren’t familiar with.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “It was much more creative (when Osborne began her career). Now, it’s more structured. That’s a big change over the years.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? “Teaching. People have asked that before. Are children less polite? I said, no, no, no. Children are just as curious, just as nice. Parents are doing a good job with them.”

What do you plan to do? “I told people I am going to be a nice person. I will remember people’s birthdays. I’ll volunteer at church and do all the things you don’t have time for when you teach. … And traveling.”

Teresa Janssen

Current position: Biology teacher, Frenship High School.

How long have you been in teaching? 22 years.

How many years in Frenship? Four years.

Why did you become a teacher? Janssen wanted to be a Spanish interpreter and teaching was her backup plan. As a teacher, she supported her husband through graduate school and continued with the career. “I wasn’t sure the interpreter thing was going to work out. I know it sounds awful. Most people say, ‘I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl.’ Well, I didn’t. It just happened.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “I think the biggest change was the students’ attitudes. I think students today want to be entertained. I think it’s the sign of our times. I think science is an incredible subject. But you can’t have a dog-and-pony show every day.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? Kids.

What do you plan to do? She plans to take her three dogs to agility trials in the region and nationally.

Fran Bessire

Current position: Math teacher, Frenship Middle School.

How long have you been in teaching? 21.

How many years in Frenship? One year.

Why did you become a teacher? “I like to make children successful and feel good about themselves. That was it,” said Bessire.

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “It was getting a letter in the mail from someone you taught 10 years ago thanking you for being the best math teacher they had. To me, it’s knowing you touched somebody’s life and made that life better. That’s the most rewarding aspect.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “If I were to say just Frenship, I would say one of the most positive aspects they teach is character. I really see the fruit of that in middle school. Those pillars of character have really paid off in elementary.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? “I taught tough kids where I came from. The kids have been so good to teach here at Frenship. I’d have to say kids have because my teaching hasn’t.”

What do you plan to do? “My bishop has given me a sabbatical. I would like to spend more time with my children and family. … Just spend time with my family.”

Kaye Turner

Current position: Workroom manager. Prior to that, helped start life skills class at Frenship.

How long have you been in teaching? 20 years.

How many years in Frenship? 17 years.

Why did you become a teacher? “At first, I needed a job and I loved kids. I like the bigger kids. … Once I started life skills, it totally turned my life around. I learned more in the six years than I did in my whole life. It was a turning point in my life.”

What’s the most satisfying aspect? “I think my most exciting time was in life skills because those kids are the most wonderful in the world. If they have an argument, they go home, go to bed and forget it. If we could all be like that, it would be a wonderful world.”

What’s the biggest change in teaching? “We aren’t allowed to discipline. In the first grade, I got a whipping when you talked back to the teacher. You can’t do that anymore.”

Which has changed more, kids or teaching? Uncertain. “The students are so much smarter but education has changed so much,”said Turner.

What do you plan to do? Turner may end up as a greeter for Wal-Mart or she might be around the school. “I don’t know. I signed up to sub next year. I could come up and sub and see my kids.”

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