The Del Norte Unified School District celebrated its 2020 honorees at the school board meeting June 25.
Superintendent Jeff Harris said he felt very badly that due to public gather restrictions of COVID-19, the school district was unable to host its annual banquet at the Elk Valley Rancheria. Instead, the administration mailed letters of appreciation and corresponding pins to each recipient. In addition, retirees were invited in to receive retirement gifts bags from Fire & Light which closed down earlier this year.
Noting some names were on both lists, Harris first thanked the following employees marking significant anniversaries with the district:
35 years, Carol Byers, Susan LaFazio, Kathleen Rawlings and Lisa Skeen
30 years, Linda Brixey, Patsy Bunn, Brooke Davis, Steve Godla, Ian Leonard, Pam Porter and Ron Quick
25 years, Cheryl Bradley, June Brashear, John Caster, Johanna Dantzman, Mary Horn, Robin Lassle, Tammy Parker, Megan Pucillo-Slayton, Paige Swan, Gale West and Suzanne Yeager
20 years - Kim Allen, Matt Berry, Holly Eberly, Silvia Gamez, Theresa Gruden, Jeff Hanck, Carol Hough, Charlene Knowlton, Deborah Reynolds, Tou Vue, Stacey Watterson, Diane Weldon and Heather Young
Some of the retiring teachers left farewell messages for Harris’s presentation.
Susan LaFazio, retiring after 35 years, all at Redwood Elementary School, wrote the school has been her second home.
“I was fortunate enough to have spent my entire 35 years of teaching at Redwood,” LaFazio wrote. “Not to mention I graduated from Redwood myself, my children graduated from Redwood and my grandchildren now attend. I will never completely leave. My heart will always belong there.”
Carol Byers, retiring after 35 years at Joe Hamilton Elementary School, said she knew she wanted to be a teacher before she ever started kindergarten.
“When my husband’s job brought us back to Del Norte County after college, I was thrilled to get hired for a kindergarten position at Joe Hamilton School where I, myself, had been a student for second to fourth grades,” Byers wrote. “I will be ending my career in the classroom where I was once a third grader. I have absolutely loved teaching and will cherish the memories.”
Harris then said farewell to the following retiring employees:
Martha Albro, 31 years with Bess Maxwell Elementary School
Carol Byers, 35 years with Joe Hamilton Elementary School
Caralyn Cavyell, 34 years with Mary Peacock Elementary School
Leesa Davidson, 38 years with Bess Maxwell Elementary School
Steve Godla, 30 years with District Office/Education Resource Center
Paul Harnden, 32 years with Bess Maxwell Elementary School
Diane Hogan, 19 years with Castle Rock Charter School
Debbie Horner, 10 years with Del Norte High School
Carol Hough, 20 years with Mary Peacock Elementary School
Susan LaFazio , 35 years with Redwood Elementary School
Jim Lund, 33 years with Redwood Elementary School
Leah Owens, 33 years with Del Norte High School
Rob Parker, 6 years with Del Norte Community School
Tammy Parker, 25 years with Bess Maxwell Elementary School
Linda Prouty, 26 years with superintendent’s office
Kim Redd, 18 years with Castle Rock Charter School
Gary Remington, 13 years with maintenance and operations, custodian 1
Darryl Winkelmann, 33 years, maintenance coordinator
“We just want to thank all of our retirees for the work they have done and wish them well as they move forward,” Harris said in conclusion.
“We want to thank all of those who have received their anniversary pins. We are really looking forward to moving through the next few years. It’s a privilege working with all these folks.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos were not provided for all of those honored.