Retiring AAPS teachers, staff honored at Top of the Park celebration

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By Tara Cavanaugh

At the district Retirement Celebration at Top of the Park Tuesday night, the message was clear: Thank you for a job well done.

This year 27 staff and teachers are retiring after logging a collective 693 years of service in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

“The public schools in Ann Arbor are unbelievably good because of each and every one of you,” said AAPS Board of Education President Deb Mexicotte.

“We thank you for your constant effort on behalf of our students, even when things are rough. Because we in Ann Arbor wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The BOE co-sponsored the event with the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation. “The Foundation is very sincere in our thank you,” said AAPSEF Executive Director Mary Cooperwasser, reminding the crowd that the foundation is dedicated to continuing the retirees’ legacy of excellence for all students.

The retiring teachers and staff, who undoubtedly have unique experiences in their collective 693 years of education, all said they would miss the same thing: the students.

“With middle school kids, they don’t know when they’re being funny,” said Slauson PE teacher Barbara Newell with a sly smile. “They say so many silly things.”

Richard Pierce, a Slauson science teacher for 19 years, said he’ll most miss gardening and working outdoors with the students: “They gave me energy.”

“It’s a lot harder than you think it is to retire,” said Judy Hart, who’s taught PE at Logan, Mitchell and Slauson over 37 years.

On the bright side, the retirees were looking forward to spending time with their families, taking care of loved ones, traveling and rededicating themselves to hobbies.

“We don’t know what we’ll do without you,” said Superintendent Dr. Patricia Green, who is also retiring this year, after she gave hugs to all the retirees. “Thank you so much!”

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