Title I reading teacher Sandie Aymar is retiring at the end of the school year. She says, “age-wise,” she is ready for retirement, but she has many plans for activities that will keep her occupied. “And I’ll gladly be a sub,” she emphasizes.
“I just felt in my heart it was time to pull away,” says Aymar. “We’ll have a new school, new beginnings. And I am looking forward to retirement.”
Aymar’s career in education began in 1967, when she was just 19. “At that time, you could teach with a two-year degree. I taught in a rural school with 14 kids, in Aurora County. I was responsible for everything…shoveling, keeping the furnace going, whatever was needed. That first job paid $2,100 per year.”
The next year, she and Duane Aymar were married, and she taught at Spiers School, located along Camp Dakotah Road. “I only had six students that year, and again I was responsible for most of the operation of the school, inside and out. But I made $2,500.”
Like many women at that time, Aymar stayed home when her children, Dwight and Stacie, were little. Some years later, she was director of the pre-school held at the Methodist Church in 1976-77. “I really enjoyed that experience,” she comments, and down the line, as the children were getting older, she decided it was time to go back to school for her four-year degree.
“I drove back and forth every day to Huron University for two and a half years,” Aymar relates. “I loved it, but I felt tremendous pressure to get good grades. One thing I learned from that experience was, never put students on a pedestal. Urge them to do the best they can do, that they are able to do, but don’t place undue pressure.”
After graduating in 1991, Aymar spent the next few years working at a variety of non-teaching jobs, because there wasn’t an opening. “I worked at Don’s Pizza, Prairie Garden, and other places. Then in 2000, I was asked if I’d help in junior high, working one-on-one with students.”
Elementary principal Shawn Oligmueller then contacted Aymar about being a long-term substitute teacher in the sixth grade. “From then on, I was in the system.”
Aymar was a Title I reading aide at Millerdale Colony for one year, and then was a fourth-grade aide for Mary Christopherson and Terice Ketelhut.
Finally, she became the Title teacher for K-6 reading, and was the overseer for the Colony Title program, also.
“The purpose of Title I is to get kids in to the program to get the help they need, then get them to the point where they no longer need that extra help,” Aymar explained. “I’ve always thought of them as ‘my kids,’ and I can’t turn it off when I walk out of the school building.”
Aymar took leave time to be with her mother when she became ill.
“I’ll forever be grateful to the school for working with me during that period,” Aymar says. But she also had a while to think about her next steps.
“I thought about the move to a new school and all that would involve. I thought about driving into town every day, and the weather issues.” So she made her decision to tender her resignation.
“I love to garden and can and make jellies. I love to grow flowers.” She also enjoys doing embroidery, and making quilts. “I have six grandkids, and I’ve made three quilts. I have three to go,” she said with a smile.
Speaking of grandkids…she’s looking forward to spending more time with them, and going to their activities. She will be able to spend more time with her husband, more time visiting with friends.
But-she stresses-she will gladly substitute teach. “Just give me half an hour to get ready.”
She’s thankful Shawn Oligmueller gave her the opportunity to use her teaching degree. She’s thankful for her co-workers. And she’s thankful for the memories.
“It’s been a trip I’ve really enjoyed.”