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BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community School District lost a wealth of knowledge and experience when a half dozen of its school staff retired following the conclusion of this past academic year.
Retiring were Holly Sweeney, reading teacher and interventionist; Mary Kay Kryshak, speech and language therapist; Sharon Formoe, district financial accountant; Tom Kuenzie, information technology coordinator; Susan Gilbertson, TCE special education secretary; and Brenda Dean, custodian.
The Tribune Press Reporter sent a questionnaire to each retiree. Below are their responses.
Neither Susan Gilbertson nor Brenda Dean submitted responses.
Position with the school district and for how many years? I am the District Financial Accountant. I started this job on September 16, 1996, so I will have held this position for 24 years and 9 months.
Describe your duties. I am responsible for paying all invoices for the district, as well as assisting the District Administrator in the budgeting process. I also prepare and submit all of the District’s financial reports to the Department of Public Instruction, as well as some other required reports. In addition, I reconcile bank statements, post all receipts and journal entries, and many other monthly duties.
What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years in the position of job duties or changes in general? Technology has increased the efficiency of many job responsibilities. There have been many software and program changes throughout these years. When I first started, we were not too advanced as far as our District network, and my fellow retiree, District Technician Tom Kuenzie, has done a lot of work to get us up to speed.” We did not have email and we did not have voice mail. While sometimes these methods of communication are not as good as actually talking to the person, they have helped to make us more efficient. The typewriter was still an office staple 11back then” and our purchase orders were typed on a typewriter (as well as most documents). Doing them within the Skyward program on our computers is much more efficient. Spreadsheets make budgeting and all aspects of bookkeeping much easier. I still depend greatly on my Excel spreadsheets, and I have not yet been convinced Google is such a great idea! DPI reporting requirements have become much more involved through the years, but as much as they have evolved in becoming more complicated, they have essentially become easier because of technology, and the ease of finding the required information.
What did you like best about working in the school district? Why? One of the things that I liked best about working in the school district was being able to follow my two oldest grandsons, Rian and Nathan Carr, through their entire 14 years within this school district. It was a joy to watch them, and their classmates, grow and develop into the fine young adults that they have become. I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity. And now, I can“graduate” this year with Nathan! It has also been great to be able to work in the same community that I live in, and also to work for the same school district that I graduated from.
What are you going to miss the most and why? I am going to miss the wonderful people that I work with! We have some of the greatest people working here and teaching our students. I can’t say that I am going to miss the stress of budgeting or the DPI deadlines, or the audit, but I am really going to miss the people! Specifically, I am going to miss my wonderful office “mates,” Judy Humpal and Alesha Kersten. They are my support, and the people that I share my joys and my sorrows with.
Tell me about something memorable that happened while you were on the job. I’m not sure there is too much that is memorable about working with numbers every day, so I am going to change this a little and respond with what I am most grateful for with regards to this position. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with and learn from Lois Oakland. Anyone that knew Lois knew what a treasure she was to this District. This lady had a wealth of knowledge and she was so willing to share it with you to make you a better employee and a better person. I learned so much from Lois, and for that I will be forever grateful.
What are you looking forward to doing in your retirement? Retirement. The day we all look forward to with much anticipation, although it generally means we are getting older! First of all, I am looking forward to having an actual summer!!!! No report deadlines, no audit!!!! Maybe I can throw my calendar away? I am looking forward to the day my husband retires, traveling and spending time with my grand kids (I will need to become a Menomonie Mustang to follow my three younger grandkids!) I am looking forward to watching it snow and not have to worry about leaving the house. I am looking forward to unlimited time with my sewing machine. And keeping up with my weeds in the summer time! There is so much to look forward to!
Anything else you would like people to know? I would like to wish all of my fellow retirees a happy and healthy retirement, doing all the things you have looked forward to and earned. I would like to wish all the best to my fellow school district employees, and thank them for their support and friendship. Keep up the good work!!!!
Boyceville Teacher at TCE
Where are you from originally? Where did you go to school? I grew up in St. Paul Minnesota and went to Henry Sibley High School. I am the youngest of 5 children.
How many years did you teach at Boyceville and what subject or grade level did you teach? I have 28 years of teaching in the Boyceville Schools. I was a classroom teacher for 15 years and I spent 13 years supporting classroom teachers as a resource teacher working mainly to boost the reading skills of children.
Did you teach anywhere else before coming to Boyceville? No.
Why did you decide to go into teaching and/or why did you decide on your particular area of expertise? I had a Home Economics teacher in High school who taught a Child Psychology class. We had a limited nursery school that we ran. Ms Meldahl complimented me and suggested I go to school to work with children. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to teach.
What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years in your subject or in education in general or how has the school itself changed? Teaching has become very regimented and test driven over the years. When I started in 1989, teachers taught using more of a thematic approach. Technology has also changed the way we present information to students and the way we have students show us what they have learned.
What did you like best about teaching in Boyceville? The people that I have been blessed to work with. The children I have gotten to know and care about. I have a soft spot for this community. I live in Elk Mound, but I have always had a very special place in my heart for this small town.
Tell me about an event or a project or some aspect of your teaching career that you will never forget. As the Reading Specialist and Title I teacher in Boyceville, I am proud of the awards that Tiffany Creek has earned. The staff puts a lot of effort into ensuring that the children in this Boyceville get a top notch education.
What will you miss about teaching or about your students? I will miss the relationships that I have enjoyed over the years. I hope to keep in contact with people and return to substitute teach in the future.
What are you looking forward to doing after you retire? I am looking forward to spending time with my family and friends. I look forward to spending time hiking, kayaking, fishing, reading, knitting, snowshoeing, traveling, and watching old movies.
Mary Kay Kryshak
Where are you from originally? Where did you go to school? St. Cloud, Minnesota. Undergrad – University of Minnesota. Grad School – UW -Eau Claire.
How many years did you teach at Boyceville and what subject or grade level did you teach? 20 years, speech language pathologist.
Did you teach anywhere else before coming to Boyceville? SPOTS House at St. Joseph’s Hospital (Pediatric Therapy), Eau Claire County Birth-3 Program.
Why did you decide to go into teaching and/or why did you decide on your particular area of expertise? Influenced by my family.
What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years in your subject or in education in general or how has the school itself changed? Technology – most recently remote learning with Chromebooks and iPads.
What did you like best about teaching in Boyceville? Relationships with colleauges, students and families.
Tell me about an event or a project or some aspect of your teaching career that you will never forget. Seeing students make progress with their communication abilities, those moments when new skills “click” for a student.
What will you miss about teaching or about your students? The joy, jumor, curiosity and creativity that students have shared.
What are you looking forward to doing after you retire? Spending more time with family, travel.
Position with the school district and for how many years? Computer/Network Technician. I have worked here for 23 years
Describe your duties. I take care of all computer, network, email, firewall, basically all the technology hats
What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years in the position or the job duties or changes in general? There has been an explosion of technology. When I started teachers didn’t have email or a computer in there room except maybe an old apple 2E with the 51/4 floppy disks to play Oregon Trail. There were 5 Networks that did not send information between offices. The job became bigger and more complicated over the years. I could go on and on.
What did you like best about working in the school district? Why? I enjoyed working on different projects and having the tools and the parts to tackle the jobs. I also liked the fact that I didn’t have to drive into the cities. I just had to watch out for the deer and the turkeys.
What are you going to miss the most? Why? Seeing the staff and making them happy when I fix their equipment. I will also miss seeing students learning and growing into young adults and moving on to the next stage of their life
Tell me about something memorable that happened while you were on the job. I was in the elementary standing in the hallway when a young student, maybe a kindergartener, ran up to me and hugged my leg and ran off. I told my wife it was a run by hugging.
What are you looking forward to doing in your retirement? Pursuing other interests, fishing, traveling, goofing around the house, or napping in my chair at a moment’s notice.
Anything else you would like people to know? Boyceville Community School District is Gem to this community and the surrounding area. The teachers and staff genuinely care about the students they teach and about their community. Not all schools are the same and this one was great to work for.