Fairmont’s retirees say goodbye to a wonderful experience

Fairmont's retirees say goodbye to a wonderful experience

Fairmont math teacher Ken Pifer assists sophomore Mimi Zanedi and juniors Lynsey Penick and Danny Phillips on one of his last days at Fairmont.

By Tristan Buirley, Staff Writer

When students return to Fairmont High School in August, they’ll find many familiar faces are absent. That’s because 10 staff members have retired.

The retirees are West Unit Counselor Angie Adkins, Social Studies Chair Linda Bergman, Career Tech Supervisor Nancy Brown, Math teacher Diane Dieterle, Special Education Coordinator Mary Jane Karns, Construction Trades teacher Lou Laquaglia, English Department Chair Penni Meyer, English teacher Janet Nixon, Intervention Specialist Fran Phillips and Math teacher Ken Pifer.

The Flyer caught up with several of the retirees to get their thoughts upon leaving.

Career Tech Supervisor Nancy Brown says the students at Fairmont have impacted her. “I will miss the looks of all the happy students when I would look through the hallways, and I’ll miss working with such wonderful young men and women,” said Brown. “I hope that the students of Fairmont will remember me when I leave the school like I will remember them.”

Fairmont Math teacher Liz Jensen will replace Brown as Career Tech supervisor.

Math teacher Ken Pifer also noted his students. “I will miss all of my students and how happy they would make me sometimes,” said Pifer.

English teacher Janet Nixon, who has worked at Fairmont for the last 27 years, told The Flyer she has felt privileged to teach in Kettering. “From my first to last class, I’ve had such wonderful, talented students,” said Nixon. “I hope I have impacted a student’s life. I know my students have impacted mine.”

Math teacher Diane Dieterle taught for 36 years and never took a sick day. “I feel like I am ready to go and do something else with my life,” said Dieterle. “I want to go out on a good note, and I love the students I have this year, so it just feels right.”

Dieterle says she feels that she has impacted her student’s lives. “Max Ducharme wrote about me for his NHS essay, so I have the writing to back it up,” she said.

Fran Phillips retired this year after working as an intervention specialist for 12 years. “I am going to miss the students; they are really fun to be around,” said Phillips. After retiring, Phillips plans to work more on gardening, as well as get into beekeeping.

Penni Meyer, the English Department chair, planned on retiring last year, but stayed the extra year for her seniors and to make her teaching career last a round 40 years. “I obviously love Fairmont,” sad Meyer. “I’ve never considered it working. I’ve always said, ‘I’m going to school.’ ”

Rebecca Templeton-Owens has been named to replace Meyer as English Department chair.

Lou Laquaglia, the Construction Trades teacher, is retiring this year with 15 years under his belt. “Oh, I’ll just miss the kids,” said Laquaglia. After retiring, Laquagila will live on the coast of Maine, where he has accepted a job as project manager to build a $5 million resort.

Social Studies Chair Linda Bergman has been both a full-time teacher and a substitute teacher and has been teaching for 36 and a half years.

“Working at Fairmont was an amazing experience,” said Bergman. “I always felt privileged to work in Kettering. It is a wonderful place to teach and is a wonderful community. The community has backed education strongly, and that makes it much easier to teach.”

Just because she’s retiring doesn’t mean Bergman is gone for good. “I’m going to miss the students the most. It’s why I got into education. I’m even considering subbing later on just so I can have that connection for a few more years.”

Fairmont has left its mark on Bergman. “Teaching here has been a wonderful experience and I have plenty of great memories. I will remain one of the biggest fans Fairmont has ever had.”

Jessica Kelley will fill the Social Studies Department chair position next year.