The Education Task Force asked me to reflect on my career in education, mostly in Gettysburg. Let me start from the beginning. I began my teaching career at Binford Junior High School, Bloomington, Indiana, fresh out of college (Miami University, Oxford, Ohio) and newly married, in September 1959. I left in 1962 as I was pregnant and there was no such thing as maternity leave. One just lost your teaching position. In 1968 when our youngest child was in kindergarten, I went back to teach mathematics in grade 7 at the Gettysburg Junior High School. Later, I was part of the experimental teaching team which was the beginning of the middle school curriculum. I went to Shippensburg University in the evening and summers and graduated with a master’s degree in school administration in 1980 and a principal’s certification in 1981. I was appointed to the position of assistant principal in 1984 and in the spring of 1985 became the principal of the Gettysburg Junior High. The Junior High became an official Middle School on January 1, 1996. However, the ninth grade did not move to the High School or grade 6 to the Middle School until September 1996. Officially, I was the last principal of the Gettysburg Junior High School and the first principal of the Gettysburg Area Middle School. I set everything in motion for the change in the organizational plan and retired in June 1996.
As I look back on it, it is difficult to describe which position I preferred. I really enjoyed both. The classroom was very rewarding and a real period of growth for me as a teacher. It takes a few years to finally feel comfortable trying new methods and programs. One keeps growing with the students as their needs change over time. I think the most rewarding moment for any teacher is when you see that light bulb of understanding light up when the student finally understands a concept that he/she has been struggling with for a long time. I have great faith in our youth. Even though each generation thinks that the younger generation is a mess, year after year each generation proves that we are wrong.