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BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community School District lost a lot of experience and knowledge when five of its staff members took retirement at the end of this school year.
Transitioning to new adventures after serving the children and parents of the Boyceville district for many years are Bonnie Barker, director of special education and school psychologist; Diana Gasteyer, elementary special education teacher; Melody Schmidt, elementary food service secretary and substitute caller; Terri Peterson, elementary secretary; and Rita Traxler, library aide.
The Tribune Press Reporter sent each retiree a questionnaire. What follows are their responses.
1. Where are you from originally? Where did you go to school?
I was born in Shawano, WI but then moved to Merrill, WI. That is where I graduated from high school. After that I received my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Concordia University in St. Paul. I went back to school and earned my Master’s in Special Education from UW-Superior. I also obtained my Director of Special Education and Principal Licensure from UW-Superior. After coming to Boyceville, I earned my Specialists Degree in School Psychology from UW-Eau Claire.
2. How many years did you work at Boyceville?
3. Did you work anywhere else before coming to Boyceville?
I worked in a parochial school in Minneapolis. I also worked in Osseo-Fairchild and Park Falls, WI.
4. Why did you decide to go into administration?
I felt that this was the next step in my career. I loved teaching but wanted to practice my leadership skills more. I also wanted to work with families beyond the classroom.
5. What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years in education in general or how has the school itself changed?
I have noticed that schools are looking at student data more when make changes to programming. I’ve also noticed that what once was a rare instance of both parents working outside of the home, it has become the norm now with both parents needing to work outside of the home.
6. What did you like best about working in Boyceville?
Boyceville is a family. The staff is supportive of each other and caring.
7. Tell about an event or a project or some aspect of your administration/teaching career that you will never forget.
Right now COVID 19 is something I will never forget. We were forced into new territories and survived. The Pandemic showed us that we can do amazing things!
8. What will you miss about education and the students?
I’m going to miss the conversations I have with the kids and staff. Every day is a new day.
9. What are you looking forward to doing after you retire?
When I retire I hope to quilt and do other art projects. I’m also looking forward to not having to get up at 5:30am every morning. It would also be nice to do some traveling.
Diana L. Gasteyer
I am originally from Stanley-Boyd, WI and went to college at UW-Stout and UW-River Falls but I have lived in Elmwood for 38 years.
Before coming to Boyceville, I taught at Plum City, Durand, Clayton, Menomonie, and Ellsworth in special education and reading. I joined the Boyceville District in 2010 in special education at Tiffany Creek Elementary.
Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to go into teaching. I would come home from school and pretend I had students in our dining room and I would teach them what I learned in school.
Over the years, I believe the use of technology has been the biggest change. With that there have been pros and cons but with the pandemic we were fortunate to have somethings in place but it was a learning curve for some of us.
Boyceville has been a wonderful place to teach and be a part of the staff and community. The staff at TCE is a very heartfelt, caring group of people giving to anyone in need. I will miss the staff and watching students grow but I look forward to my next chapter in life and not setting my alarm!
I subbed for 3 years for secretaries and paraprofessionals at both Tiffany Creek Elementary and the high school before getting hired full time as TCE lunch secretary/substitute caller for the past 27 wonderful years!
I have enjoyed seeing the generations of families go through and watching all the children grow! The staff at Boyceville is like my second family! So caring and always willing to help everyone, at any time!
I will certainly miss seeing all of the children and staff at school, but looking forward to retirement! I have another grandbaby coming in June, so I am looking forward to being a full-time Grandma, camping and riding 4×4 with family!!!
1. Position with the school district and for how many years?
I started out as a multi-categorical paraprofessional for 11 years. I’ve worked as the Library Assistant for the past 17 years.
2. Describe your duties.
I run the library for all phases at the MS/HS level. Also oversee the Tiffany Creek library with training new personnel and ordering books and magazines for both libraries.
3. What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years in the position or the job duties or changes in general?
When I started we didn’t have the availability of using the technology that we use today. Students at the MS/HS level don’t seem to read as many books as in the past.
4. What did you like best about working in the school district? Why?
I enjoyed discussing books with students. It was always rewarding to have students come back and tell me how much they enjoyed books or authors that I had recommended. I even got one student reading Louis L’Amour.
5. What are you going to miss the most? Why?
I will miss the students. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to call teenagers my friends. I still have students come back and visit years after they have graduated.
6. Tell about something memorable that happened while you were on the job.
A memory I have is when during COVID, I had the opportunity to help package meals for the students. All I will say is we have the best kitchen workers. They showed me how each of us have a place in the successful running of our school.
7. What are you looking forward to doing in your retirement?
A couple of things I’m looking forward to is visiting our oldest son in Colorado and planning a bus trip to Washington D.C. But most of all not having the alarm going off at 5:15 anymore.
8. Anything else you would like people to know?
I’d like to thank the students, they are what are important and they have kept me feeling worthwhile and young.
I have been employed as the Elementary Secretary at Tiffany Creek School for 34 years. Duties included all things telephone, student attendance, assisting the school nurse and students requiring nursing services, and processing of materials and supply orders for all aspects of the elementary school needs. These are basic duties, and there have been many more daily responsibilities, too numerous to mention.
When I began in the fall of 1988, there was no computer in the elementary office. The only electric devices in the office were a typewriter (thankfully, it had a correction ribbon!) and a calculator. I was excited to add a computer, which enabled me to type class lists and various other documents in Word Perfect. From those early days, student/school records have evolved from being monitored in the school district itself to web services coordinating with state and federal systems monitoring student and school performance. I feel this is one of the bigger changes the school office staff has had to learn and adapt to.
As secretary at TCE, I watched two generations of children grow and mature, and I feel as though I have developed a great connection with the kids and wonderful families in this community. The entire staff at TCE over the years has been a loving and caring extended family that I feel so fortunate to have been a part of for most of my adult life!
My retirement will consist of more time spent with family and friends, and, I hope to travel and see more of the natural wonders in the United States. We have a special summer “Happy Place” that we also plan to make more use of in the years to come.