In the field of education as we approach the end of each year, educators evaluate how much growth they have achieved during the year. Those individuals then make a plan and determine what steps need to be taken to make next year even better. This evaluation and renewal process is very healthy and positive. On occasion the plan they select is bittersweet for the people who admire and appreciate them. Every year some great individuals decide that it is time to leave the job that they have dedicated their lives to and choose to retire. This year is no exception. We have some wonderful individuals who have dedicated their careers to the children of Oakdale who are retiring. I would like to write a few words about them and wish them a fond farewell.
Carol “Toby” Ayers: Toby has taught full time at Cloverland School since 1975. She has dedicated over 35 years teaching the children of Oakdale. Toby is a strong confident woman with a great since of humor. She has taught first through sixth grades and has had the privilege of teaching the children of her former students. She has served the Oakdale Teacher’s Association and was awarded the “School Bell Award” by the California Teacher’s Association for her accomplishments. Toby plans on traveling, golfing, reading and writing.
Liz Barnes: After graduating from Cal Poly SLO, Liz became a fifth grade teacher. She taught for a few years and then took some time off to start a family. Liz came to work for Oakdale in 1985 and has served fourth grade students at Cloverland for the past 25 years where she says she has had the privilege of working with wonderful students, parents and teachers who have enriched her life. Liz’s retirement plans include continuing to help with the family horse-packing business. She hopes to take interesting, fun classes and travel.
Dave Cook: Dave Cook began his teaching career in Dublin, CA. In July of 1980 Dave came to Oakdale to become the Principal of Oakdale Junior High School. Dave remained there for 10 years working to build a staff that truly cared about students. In 1990 Dave returned to the classroom to rebuild the elementary band program, which grew to over 150 students and a junior high band of over 90 students under his baton. In retirement Dave will golf, enjoy sports and follow his passion of sailing.
Diane Dickson: Diane has been teaching for 30 years, 23 have been in Oakdale, teaching at almost every grade level. She taught for 16 years at Magnolia and has taught the past five years at Sierra View. Diane was named “Teacher of the Year” at Magnolia and was a state finalist in the “Literacy for Life Award” sponsored by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. She was a co-founder of Ag Day, which is now an annual event at all four Oakdale Elementary Schools. She plans on traveling, playing with her grandchildren and spoiling her pugs.
Vivian Jones: Vivian graduated from Chico State and then earned her credential from CSU Stanislaus. She has taught first grade for 25 years at Cloverland School. She has served on several school and district committees. Vivian has been the grade level chairperson and has been a mentor teacher in the BTSA Program, lending her knowledge and advice to beginning teachers. She is excited about retirement. Her plans include helping to plan a wedding, playing with grandchildren, spending quality time with family, traveling, cooking and taking time to “smell the roses.”
Cindy Pope: Cindy is a friend, mentor and confidant to the Cloverland family. She has been the “heart and soul” of Cloverland, serving 39 years as the school secretary. She has a high level of expertise in all areas of running the office and is the person staff members, parents, and students seek out when they need help. She plans on spending more time with family and just doing “what she wants to do when she wants to do it.”
Henry Medrano: Henry served the district as the lead maintenance person for 32 years. He was the painter and fixed anything that needed to be fixed. Henry was dependable and always did quality work. He will spend time with his family and fishing, which is what he loves to do.
Susan Stack: Susan has taught in Oakdale for 30 years. She taught for 16 years at Fair Oaks and has been at Magnolia for the last 20 years. She has done a great job of teaching in grades K through third. She has been a master teacher and supervised student teachers from CSU Stanislaus and Chapman University. Susan has given outstanding in-services to her peers at both schools and has been a member of the Ag Day committee since the beginning of the event. She and her husband plan on remodeling their home and traveling around the world.
Randee Stidham: Randee is retiring after 13 years as the Title One Reading teacher at Magnolia School. She was hired by Pam Antinetti in 1996 to “make a difference” in the lives of children and she has certainly done that. She will miss the challenge and joy that the students and work bring. She plans on spending time with her family and reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
Each of these individuals has made an impact on the lives of the people they have worked with and the children they serve. On behalf of the Board of Education and the Oakdale Joint Unified School District, I would like to thank them for their service and wish them well in the future.
Superintendent’s Spotlight is a monthly column provided by Oakdale Joint Unified School District Superintendent Fred Rich, updating the community with information about school district activities.