Ann Arbor Public Schools retirees honored at Top of the Park celebration

By Tara Cavanaugh 

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education partnered with the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation to create the first-ever celebration for all AAPS retirees at a Top of the Park celebration June 19.

The retirees present represented a combined 1,173 years of service to the schools and were heartily thanked by AAPS Superintendent Dr. Patricia Green.

“I want to tell you all what a joy it is to be part of this first joint celebration between the Board of Education and the educational foundation,” said Dr. Green. “You have given so much to this community. I was astonished by your commitment, your dedication and everything you’ve done. You’re now part of the legendary folklore of this school district.”

AAPS Board of Education President Deb Mexicotte also thanked the retirees. “You made this system and educational process better. You should be very proud,” she said. “Thank you so much for your service! We couldn’t have done it without you.”

The retiring teachers and staff members had plans to travel, volunteer, pursue second careers and spend time with friends and family.

Sara Aeschbach, director of community education and recreation, was retiring after working for the district for 31 years.

“I have the coolest job,” she said. “When I was telling my successor about it, I almost started crying. It’s been a fantastic opportunity.” Aeschbach planned to spend the summer in a cottage on Lake Erie.

Donald Yeatts, a physics teacher at Huron for 25 years, had plenty he planned to do: “Biking, hiking, kayaking,” he said. “I might do a little building; I carry a builder’s license.” Yeatts admitted there are some things he will miss: “mostly the people – the teachers and the students.”

Helen Starman, chairperson of the educational foundation board of directors, also recognized innovative partnerships that took place this past school year, including the Principal Business Mentor Program, created with funding from the foundation and Johnson Controls.

The program paired business professionals and AAPS principals with the goal of helping principals learn new skills in customer service and business professionals gain a greater understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the public schools.

Bill Harris, principal of Eberwhite Elementary, earned a $500 prize for his school for creating the best customer service plan with his business mentor.

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