by Marlys Kruger
During the annual staff recognition banquet held May 28 at the Whitetail Golf Course, three staff members representing three areas of employment along with a former school board president were all honored after announcing their plans to retire from the Colfax district earlier in the year. The four include fifth grade teacher Janet Hovland, school bus driver Virginia Thompson, special education aid/office worker Nancy Finley and Don Berge from the school board.
Hovland taught for three years in Iowa before moving to the Colfax area and began teaching in the district as the Title 1 instructor for two years then taught fifth grade for 27 years.
“I have enjoyed all my years here at Colfax,” she said. “For me, teaching was all about the kids. I tried very hard to be a good educator and I loved working with all my students, parents, staff members and administrators. I will miss being with them on an everyday basis,” she added.
Thompson has driven a school bus for 36 years in the district and has had several routes.
“Back in the seventies and eighties Colfax shared special education students with Elk Mound,” she said. “I had that route which took me all around Elk Mound and even into Eau Claire. For the past 15 years I have had the Albertville route. It has been a challenge, especially with our crazy weather but I am glad I had the opportunity to work in this district all these years. It will be nice to not have to be around at 3:00 to work every day.”
Nancy Finley worked in the district as a special education aid for 14 years at all levels and in the high school office for a year.
“This district has been very good to me and I feel blessed to have worked here,” she said. “I now live up by Hayward and plan to do a lot of fishing,” she added with a laugh.
Berge served on the school board for 33 years, the last 13 as the president. He received a standing ovation from the crowd as he was presented a plaque by District Administrator Bill Yingst.
“I worked under four superintendents and saw a lot of changes, mostly positive, in our district while on the board,” he said. “We had a lot of budget problems when I first began and we turned that around. We have a beautiful addition on our school and a wonderful athletic complex and I am proud to say I was a part of that,” he added.
Three teachers were awarded a watch or an engraved statue for their many years of service including sixth grade teacher Eve Suckow for 35 years, high school history teacher Andy Meade for 30 years and middle school teacher Tim Devine, also for 30 years.
Elementary teacher Sandra Hart and high school business teacher Kara Zutter received a statue for 25 years of service. High school math teacher Jennifer Steinke received a plaque for 20 years. Elementary music teacher Jeffrey Langkau, second grade teacher Deborah Mathson and special education aid Jane Rude received a set of book ends for 15 years. Special education teacher Bonnie Froehlich and bus driver George Entzminger received a desk set for 10 years. School board member Ken Neuburg, tech ed. teacher Jamie Buchholz, Karen Sahm, custodians Troy Knutson and Diane Satter received a paper weight for five years of service. Several staff members received a pin for one year of employment in the district including Malia Clements, Lori Halpin, John Nelson, Carly Rubenzer, Clint Alexander, Kristina Anderson, Tali Eiseth, Beth Kley, Kim Knutson, Tina Rothbauer, Terri Ruff and Christine Solberg.