Eight individuals made decisions to retire at the end of this school year from the Oakdale Joint Unified School District.
They were honored with a reception on Monday, May 14 at the district’s Technology and Staff Development Center where principals and district administrators spoke of their contributions. OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Terri Taylor said at the event that the retirees have put in 70 years of combined education service just to the students in Oakdale alone.
OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Barbara Shook is retiring this year after 11 years in Oakdale and 37 years total in education. The district’s Director of Categorical Programs Kristi Rapinchuk spoke about Shook’s accomplishments and gave an overview of her career. Over the course of her career, Shook taught third, fourth, sixth, seventh, and ninth grades, as well as GATE. She has also served as a school administrator before moving into the district offices. She has worked for a few different area school districts, as well as in the parochial school system.
Rapinchuk said that while Shook’s accomplishments are impressive, the more impressive part of her résumé is “between the lines.” She then shared some of Shook’s “Barbara-isms”: Treat everyone with respect and teach staff and students to do the same, Don’t take all the credit, even if you did it all, and Spend more time listening than talking.
She addressed the educators present and stated that they’ve been guided by the best if guided by Shook. She added that Shook valued her career but valued her husband and family more and also that Shook’s mantra was to “keep the kids first.”
Shook said that her many years in education have been the “best ever.”
“I wish that everyone could find a career they enjoy as much as I do,” Shook said. “…This has been such an amazing year. This is a good year to go out.”
She added that one small regret she has is that she won’t be around to be a part of where new Superintendent Marc Malone leads the district, as she believes he has accomplished a lot this year.
Shook also stated her faith in her successor, who is Rapinchuk, in taking over the reins of the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum role.
Sierra View Elementary School Principal David Kindred spoke about the three retirees from his school, Resource Instructional Aides Paula Rico and Kay Washburn, and computer education instructor Susan Neubaum.
In a prior article about the retirees, based on information provided, it was incorrectly stated that Paula Rico was hired in 1992 as a Resource Instructional Aide at Fair Oaks Elementary School. She was actually hired in 1989. She later transferred to Sierra View. Also, Kay Washburn was hired in 1991, not 1992 as previously reported, as a Resource Instructional Aide at Magnolia Elementary School. She later transferred to Sierra View.
Kindred spoke of Rico’s “top notch organizational skills” and stated that Washburn was “dedicated and always dependable.” He spoke of Neubaum and said she’s “an avid learner and open to new ideas.” He added points about each of them and gave an overview of their careers, noting how, between them, they’ve covered several elementary schools and the junior high in their careers.
“They’ve literally touched hundreds of lives,” he said.
Fair Oaks Principal Stacey Aprile spoke about one retiree from her school, Vicki Stewart. She noted the various educational positions Stewart has held and her vast experience. Aprile said Stewart was “thoughtful, caring, proactive, and collaborative.”
Three of the district’s retirees did not wish to have special recognition. Art teacher Lou Stringer is retiring from Oakdale High School; he was hired in 1975. Fair Oaks first grade teacher Kathy Treon is also retiring; she was hired in 1987.
Classified employee Linda Morris is retiring from her position as a Special Day Class Instructional Aide at Oakdale Junior High School; she was hired in 1989.