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May 10, the staff of the Highland School district gathered at Ainsworth Elementary during teacher appreciation week to recognize teachers for all the work they put in during the year.
Those in attendance were treated to cake and ice cream before the district recognized those celebrating milestones in the district and those who would be retiring at the end of the year.
Retirees Dorothy Stout (44 years), Kathy Roberts (32 years), Joan Gerot (22 years), Mike Goodrich (9 years), Shelley Armstrong, (9 years), and Chris Sieren (8 years) were recognized for their time in the district and given standing ovations by their fellow staffers.
Lastly, outgoing Superintendent Chris Amrstrong was recognized and a few staff members stood up to talk about his 34 years in the field. Sue Rich, business manager for the district read a letter of congratulations from her predecessor Beth Colbert before making her own statement thanking Armstrong for his service.
James Higdon was the first to speak on Armstrong’s behalf and said his focus was always about the kids.
“It’s been my honor to work most of my career with Chris Armstrong. He’s held aloft that goal that we should all remember: it’s all about the kids,” Higdon said.
The statement was seconded by central site principal Angela Hazelett, who still remembered his words to her ahead of her first IEP meeting when she was unsure heading into her first meeting and asked “what do I say no to?”
“He said, ‘You don’t say no to anything when it comes to kids,’ and I think that has mantra throughout his tenure here and I just really appreciate everything he’s done for all of us,” she said.
A pair of letters were read from his former students from back in his days as a music teacher who both thanked him for encouraging their talents in the field, even when they themselves weren’t sure it was something they wanted to stick with.
After the recognition, Armstrong thanked everyone for their kind words.
“As I get older, dust seems to accumulate more in the room than it did when I was younger. You know when dust gets in your eyes, they water,” he said.
Armstrong then treated those gathered to a couple of original songs as he accompanied himself on the piano, “Superintendent Blues” and an untitled song.
The staff then gathered for a final staff picture at the elementary before it closes its doors at the end of the year.