State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio logo.

A Legacy of Service to Ohio Educators

At the Ohio State Teachers Association meeting in June 1916, an anonymous note was posted to a bulletin board stating, “Those teachers interested in the formation of a statewide teachers retirement system should meet in . . .” Ten people assembled. STRS Ohio’s beginning was an idea written down on paper. Early leaders made it a reality. The timeline below captures some of the most significant events in STRS Ohio’s history.

Legislation introduced to create retirement system

The bill “to provide a statewide retirement system for teachers in schools supported wholly or in part by public funds” was introduced by Childe Harold Freeman as H.B. 359 on March 7, 1919. Freeman, a state representative from Hardin County, had also been a school teacher, principal and superintendent.

The bill passed in the House (April 9, 1919) and in the Senate (April 16, 1919) unanimously. The governor signed the bill on May 8, 1919, and it became law on Aug. 8, 1919 — creating the United States’ first statewide actuarial-based teacher retirement system.

State Teachers Retirement System begins operations

Photo of William E. Kershner.

William E. Kershner served as the first executive director when the system began operations on March 26, 1920. The system had 12 staff members and a five-member board. The board’s first tasks included creating rules, policy and criteria for teacher membership; as well as standardizing eligibility requirements for retirement and disability benefits and return-to-work situations.

The year of “firsts”

Photo of STRS Ohio staff in the 1920s.

The system’s first offices were located at 66 S. Third St., in Columbus, Ohio. In the system's first year, member contributions totaled more than $1.9 million and investments more than $4.4 million.

Membership by the numbers

The system served 34,000 members in its first year. John R. Adams of Lake County was the first teacher to receive a retirement benefit from the system; one of 323 Ohio educators to retire during the first year of the system’s operation. The average monthly pension was $44 per month — but the value far exceeded the monetary total. These first pensions demonstrated tangible recognition of teaching as a profession.

Great Depression shows impact on Ohio

Black Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929, marked the start of the Great Depression. State tax revenue was cut, more than 127 Ohio banks failed, Ohio farm income fell 42%, Ohio layoffs reached tens of thousands, but Ohio’s public wanted its teachers on the job. The pension system held more than $60 million in investments — all in Ohio bonds and federal paper.

System holds steady during turbulent times

During this decade, industry and military pulled teachers out of the classroom during World War II, again for the Berlin Airlift and yet again for the conflict in Korea. Retired teachers came back into classrooms as replacements. The large rotation of teachers proved to be a record-keeping challenge, but the system continued to build financial strength, exceeding $100 million in total investments by 1942.

No more rent — the system builds offices

Photo of STRS Ohio's building in 1961.

Executive Director Larry Shuter, against paying rent, proposed building STRS offices. The board approved. The site was chosen at the corner of Sixth and East Broad Streets (275 E. Broad St). Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1961. The land was purchased for $105,000. The construction of the 27,000 square foot building took 19 months with a cost of $900,000. STRS became the first retirement system for teachers to build and occupy its own building.

Technology advances, investments rise

Photo of STRS Ohio's mainframe computers in the 1960s.

The evolution of providing service to members took a big step with the move to the building at 275 E. Broad St. The weight and clutter of paper reduced with technology advancements, but the flood of data rose. Necessitated by the need to process member data more efficiently, the ITS Department began to take shape.

By 1966, the system’s total investments exceeded $1 billion. With another wave of inflation around the corner, STRS would double investments in less than six years.

System begins offering benefits counseling

Photo of a member counseling session.

As more and more members called or visited STRS with questions, the Benefits Counseling Department began with two staff members doing counseling. At this time, teachers' requests of counselors were mostly focused on retirement benefit cost estimates and basic benefit information.

Investments expand into real estate

In the early 1980s, Ohio law expanded the investment authority of public retirement systems allowing them to make direct investment in real estate property outside of Ohio.

Teachers’ contributions to society marked with lasting memorials

Photo of one of the bronze relief statues, placed in the Ohio Statehouse.

When the system celebrated its 75th anniversary, active and retired members of the system provided funding support for a Teachers’ Park at the Ohio Historical Society and for the creation of bronze relief statues, placed in the Ohio Statehouse. A plaque was placed in the park honoring teachers for their “commitment to excellence and dedication to lifelong learning.” The reliefs in the Statehouse depict traditional and modern scenes and symbols of teaching and education.

Member Services Center is started

As an additional resource for members seeking answers to benefit-related questions, the system started a phone center with eight staff members dedicated to answering phones.

System launches member website

Photo of a computer displaying STRS Ohio's website in 1997.

Expanding on existing benefits counseling and phone center services for members, the system launched its website to give these individuals the capability to seek online answers to their benefit-related questions any hour of the day.

Park developed honoring Ohio’s educators

Photo of Discovery Park.

In commemoration of the system’s 80th anniversary, Discovery Park was developed. This first park to specifically honor Ohio’s public educators was created by members and friends of the retirement system. Included in the park are the names of thousands of former and current STRS Ohio members who helped others discover the value of learning. Also within the park, the sculpture “Journey to Learning,” created by member George Danhires, focuses on the interaction between students and their teachers.

Ohio pension reform legislation is passed

The State Teachers Retirement Board began a long-term contingency planning process to preserve the defined benefit pension for Ohio’s public educators in 2009. This process concluded in September 2012 with the passage of Substitute Senate Bill 342 which included benefit changes to strengthen the financial condition of the pension system.

Social media presence established

The system launched its social media program in 2016 with the establishment of social media pages to share news and information with members and other followers related to system benefits and services and retirement planning.

System marks 100 years of service

Photo of the STRS Ohio 100th anniversary sign.

The system marked a century of providing retirement benefits and services to Ohio’s current and retired educators and focuses on a continued partnership with members in helping them to build retirement security. One of the largest public pension funds in the country, the system serves more than half a million active, inactive and retired Ohio public educators.

Member stories

STRS Ohio members — Ohio’s current and retired educators — have a story to tell. Thank you to all educators who have shared their thoughts with us about inspiration from their students, their reasons for becoming teachers, the most rewarding aspects of teaching and much more! We celebrate all of our members for their important contributions to their communities as educators.

The impact STRS Ohio has had on educators’ careers/retirements

  • I was born in 1913 and entered first grade in Mt. Washington School. I have been connected with Ohio Schools for most of my life. … I have been receiving retirement benefits for 48 years. I am now 107 years old.

    H.M. Kuhn — Retired 1972
    Forest Hills & North College Hill Public Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • STRS has allowed me to work and retire knowing I will be able to do the things I want to do. Some of the stories in the magazines helped frame my thoughts and teaching over the years.

    D. Metzger — Retired 2020
    Olmsted Falls City Schools, 26 Years
  • STRS made it possible for me to go to college. Thru my mother's STRS survivor's benefits, my brother and sister, I, and my father, received checks and services from STRS. I received monthly survivor checks from age 15, until I graduated from Ohio University. My Dad received benefits as a widower from age 42 until his death at age 94. So when I recently retired, I was returning to a system which has served our family so well.

    M. Nething — Retired 2017
    Warren City Schools, 34 Years
  • It has given me an income and has supplied me with excellent health care. I thank God for that.

    J. Bartley — Retired 1982
    Pike County Schools (Kentucky) and Columbus Public Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I appreciate the benefits.

    E. Warffuel-Clark — Retired 1978
    Hudson City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools and Braceville Township Schools, 38 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Thank goodness for STRS! Having the STRS check each month has helped me live a more comfortable life than if I did not have it.

    M. Venook — Retired 1980
    Columbus Public Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The STRS retirement is second to none for investment returns and fringe benefits. My retirement income and insurance coverage is better than any of my friends and relations. ...

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • Very shortly I will be able to retire and live comfortably.

    L. Coldiron — Current Teacher
    Polaris Career Center, 31 Years
  • The guidance from STRS as I head toward retirement has been wonderful. I feel that I have been on the right path since I began my career with the workshops, etc., STRS provided throughout my teaching career.

    A. Martin — Current Teacher
    West Liberty-Salem Schools, 29 ½ Years
  • STRS greatly influenced my decision to relocate to a warmer climate, upon my retirement. The various workshops, individual counseling from STRS staff, and printed materials allowed me to adequately plan and prepare. I thank the wisdom shared during those experiences. ... Additionally, as I impart wisdom to those still active in the profession, I caution them to plan, plan, plan!

    H. Kambon — Retired 2007
    Columbus City Schools, 32 Years
  • Waiting and watching changes and how they’ll affect my retirement.

    V. Grear — Current Teacher
    Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, 24 Years
  • We have a fantastic pension. I retired at full pay. I took the full PLOP [Partial Lump-Sum Option Plan]. I have been very happy. ...

    C. McDonald — Retired 2012
    Orange City Schools, 40 Years
  • I have become more involved in my knowledge of STRS and what is offered since retiring. ...

    T. Imhoff — Retired 2014
    Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, 22 Years
  • I have always had confidence in the STRS system. Its constant updates and concern for teaching specialists has never faltered. It is an organization that practices what it preaches.

    K. Schweitzer — Retired 2001
    Port Clinton City Schools, 30 Years
  • I am very happy with my pension. It has enabled me to continue the standard of living I had when teaching.

    M. Allgood — Retired 1986
    Pulaski (Wilmington) School District and Taylor (New Castle) School District (both Pennsylvania); Poland Local Schools, 34 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The retirement benefit (monetary and health care) have been a godsend for my 12 years of assisted living/health center care.

    D. Smith — Retired 1978
    Springfield Local Schools, Mansfield City Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Good health insurance choice has made it easier to manage.

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • It contributed significantly to my financial security, allowing me and my husband to travel extensively around the world and do mission work for the Nazarene Church for several years.

    E. Follett — Retired 1979
    Kettering Public Schools, 14 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My STRS pension has contributed in part, to a comfortable retirement for me.

    G. Yeager — Retired 1983
    Toledo Public Schools, Alliance City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The impetus of STRS has resulted in a better retirement income …

    M. Roush — Retired 1983
    Orville City Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • STRS brought me security in my retirement.

    R. Emmitt — Retired 1974
    Akron City Public Schools, 32 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I am very grateful for my pension. It enabled me to have a modest but comfortable retirement for all these years.

    M. Gilmore — Retired 1979
    Toledo Public Schools, 27 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • It has been a good retirement.

    M. Beechy — Retired 1975
    Wooster City Schools, Milton Township Schools, Paint Township Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • It has provided me with the peace of mind that I have a net to catch me when I retire and need to step away from teaching.

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • I now have retirement to look forward to because we have STRS.

    J. Hilderbrand — Current Teacher
    Ohio Valley Local School District and Northwest Local Schools, 9 Years
  • STRS has given me the peace of mind that my life after teaching will be taken care of.

    A. Kiene — Current Teacher
    Bluffton Exempted Village School District, 3 Years
  • Being an STRS member has made me feel like there is a group of folks who are working toward keeping our retirement system solvent and working for all — former and current educators.

    M. Dennison — Retired 2016
    Dublin City Schools and Columbus Public Schools, 30 Years
  • STRS allowed my family to live when I had to take time off to take care of my husband when he was very sick … I was able to retire, take care of my husband and not have to worry about paying our bills. Now that his retirement has come through, I was able to go back to work part time, but was able to open another account with STRS without penalty. I say thank you very much for making this possible for us.

    A. Greathouse — Current Teacher
    Marietta City Schools, 7 Years
  • STRS will allow me to add my previous OPERS [pension system credit] from BGSU towards my retirement. I will have 30 years on June 1, 2020 ... I love teaching but it's time to start a new chapter in my life. I’m enjoying my final academic year at the University of Toledo.

    M. Janes — Current Teacher
    University of Toledo, 17 Years
  • ... I began my career as a fourth-grade teacher. I was in the classroom 24 years and then went into administration. I would not trade the teacher and administrative teams I have been on in my career for anything. The relationships, with not only the children, but also the adults, have been such a blessing. The quote “Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” describes me perfectly! Education is my life! I am thankful for my career and STRS.

    N. Miller — Current Teacher
    Georgetown Exempted Village Schools, 31 Years
  • I look forward to being financially sound once I retire from a rewarding career.

    V. Weingart — Current Teacher
    Canfield Local School District, 28 Years
  • I appreciate the health care and ongoing pension.

    W. Hammond — Retired 1973
    Northwest Local Schools, Finneytown Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • STRS has become an important part of my retirement plans despite having worked primarily in another field. The staff is extremely professional and their guidance is above reproach.

    R. Murray — Retired 2012
    Celina City Schools, 5 Years
  • A check every month, on time and in the correct amount!

    M. Halvorsen — Retired 1961
    University of Cincinnati, 20 Years
  • Guaranteed income and health benefits have allowed us to travel, update our home and help our children and grandchild.

    R. Evans — Retired 2009
    North Royalton City Schools, 45 Years
  • My wife was also a guidance counselor in the Olmsted Falls district so STRS has had a huge impact on our careers and our retirement. We are enjoying a comfortable retirement thanks to STRS.

    R. Boynton — Retired 2008
    Amherst Exempted Village Schools, 35 Years
  • When over 100 former students and colleagues attended my retirement party [it] made me realize how my lifelong desire to teach was an incredible blessing in my life. ...

    L. Conn — Retired 2012
    Sinclair Community College, 31 Years
  • It has helped make my life comfortable in retirement.

    B. Clark — Retired 1992
    Ottawa–Glandorf Local Schools, Elida Local Schools, 45 Years
  • If you stay in STRS for a long time, it is a great retirement. I truly appreciate that.

    P. Washburn — Retired 2012
    Ohio University, 28 Years
  • Being an STRS Ohio member impacted my retirement greatly. It has allowed me to have a life after retirement with the retirement money provided by STRS and myself. It has also given me the comfort of having a health plan that I can rely on.

    C. Carter — Retired 2010
    Jackson Local Schools, 35 Years
  • STRS has been very supportive and made information accessible to me.

    D. Gordon — Retired 2011
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 23 Years
  • STRS has been a blessing to me and my family. I appreciate all the work STRS employees do for the retired and the current teachers of Ohio. THANKS!

    D. Rotella — Retired 2010
    Gahanna Jefferson City Schools, 45 Years
  • STRS has allowed me, as a single woman, to retire successfully after 35 years and continue working as a substitute in my home city school district, [I am] now in my 51st year of teaching. With good health care benefits and a reasonable income I can maintain my lifestyle and haven’t had to make dramatic changes in order to get by. I applaud STRS for the close attention they have given to maintaining the member healthcare and pension systems in the face of constant challenges. Thanks STRS!

    M. Spear — Retired 2008
    Waterloo Schools, 35 Years
  • It is a professional and supportive organization. I am so appreciative of the staff’s professionalism. Being a busy teacher pulled in many directions, I saw how organized and knowledgeable the STRS staff was. They are so helpful in answering my questions. They treat me with dignity and respect.

    D. Demarest — Retired 2013
    Newark City Schools, 25 Years
  • STRS has been the backbone of my retirement. This system has to be one of the best in the state of Ohio. I appreciate STRS in so many ways.

    K. Fliehman — Retired 2009
    East Clinton Local Schools, 35 Years
  • Our STRS contributions are managed so that I am provided with a retirement income that allows me to live comfortably in a beach community in South Carolina…

    J. Albert — Retired 2004
    Lancaster City Schools, 37 Years
  • Being a member of STRS has enabled me to feel safe and secure in my retirement. Knowing I have a net of financial and medical security is such a blessing.

    D. Dunbar — Retired 2004
    Northeastern Local Schools, 34 Years
  • I taught for 17 years at a technical school with only Social Security for retirement. When I took the position at Akron Public Schools under STRS retirement, I obtained much better retirement and health benefits.

    F. Weiss — Retired 2013
    Akron Public Schools, 27 Years
  • When I began my career, I did not have a thought about STRS or what retirement really was. I just wanted to teach art to students and give them a good experience. … When it came time to retire, I was pleased to have the benefits of STRS to support me for my years remaining. I was surprised to be “taken care of” by my contributions and that of my school system. I appreciated STRS so much more at the end of my career.

    K. Davis — Retired 2013
    Southwest Licking Local Schools, 25 Years
  • I thank our wonderful STRS for supporting me in reaching my goals in my career and retired life. It is such a blessing that I am grateful for each day.

    D. Contner — Retired 2012
    Little Miami School District, 35 Years
  • The reputation of the STRS system makes life, for me, more pleasant and worry free.

    C. Knepshield — Retired 2006
    Middletown City Schools, 31 Years
  • [STRS Ohio] let me retire to a decently stable lifestyle.

    D. Fryman — Retired 2016
    Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, 27 Years
  • [STRS Ohio] has given me a secure financial situation which allows me great freedom in how to spend my time ... especially with my children, grandchildren, and a great grandson! ...

    N. Blankenship — Retired 1992
    Kent State University, 30 Years
  • While working in education all the years I taught students, I felt happy knowing when I retired I would have my STRS pension to help me.

    D. Penn — Retired 2013
    Warrensville Heights City Schools, 26 Years
  • STRS has made retirement possible.

    G. Ross — Retired 2012
    West Carrollton City School District, two schools in Pennsylvania, 30 Years
  • It has laid the basis for a wonderful retirement.

    M. Sander — Retired 2011
    Berne Union Local Schools, 30 Years
  • My experiences in education did not stop with three degrees. I continue to give back by volunteering my services by mentoring/tutoring primary age students in reading. My retirement benefits have helped me continue to give back to the community in other ways, also. Hopefully these benefits will continue.

    S. Hirsch — Retired 1994
    Toledo Public Schools, 37 Years
  • The Ohio retirement system is the best at providing a comfortable retirement for college professors. My wife, who taught French, and I have been able to travel and enjoy life for 20 years on our pensions from STRS. Thanks.

    W. Pratt — Retired 1995
    Miami University, 44 Years
  • … I am very happy that I chose teaching as my career. Thanks STRS for providing for my retirement.

    C. Smith — Retired 1999
    Columbus Public Schools, 30 Years
  • I now have the best health insurance of anyone I know. It even beats my friends' working insurance that are health professionals. …

    A. Brewer — Retired 2015
    Columbus City Schools, 37 Years
  • STRS has been a stabilizing part of my retirement, as all of my years of contributions has enabled me to have a secure future.

    J. Mozina — Retired 2011
    Port Clinton City Schools, 36 Years
  • As I neared retirement, I really appreciated all the help and advice that STRS provided. Each person I met with was knowledgeable and cooperative.

    N. Thomas — Retired 2012
    Fairbanks Local Schools, 35 Years
  • My STRS pension and medical Insurance have been our lifeline literally and figuratively. The STRS pension coupled with my wife's pension pay for all of our living expenses and the medical insurance has been a lifesaver as I have fought through renal cancer and bypass surgery.

    W. Northrup — Retired 1999
    Worthington City Schools, 10 Years
  • I had a great career and a great system (STRS) to reward me in retirement.

    K. Mobley — Retired 2014
    Defiance College and Bowling Green State University, 20 Years
  • Retirement is a wonderful stage in life. I am thankful for STRS Ohio making it possible for me to continue to live comfortably and productively after numerous rewarding years as an educator.

    D. Mines — Retired 2005
    East Cleveland City Schools, 32 Years
  • STRS means a great deal to me. I have a good retirement as a result of being an STRS member. I thank God every day for being an STRS member.

    S. Crosby — Retired 2017
    Akron Public Schools, 30 Years
  • [Being an] STRS Ohio member and teaching the State Test Nurse Aide course helped me maintain a better income when I retired. I was only in the [system] for six years before I retired, but the retirement from STRS has helped me increase my income after retirement.

    D. Bowers — Retired 2011
    Rhodes State College, 6 Years
  • From being a beginning teacher in 1962 to retiring in 2007, in between, I was fortunate to have had a successful international performance career as a solo singer. However, it's not always possible to be able to retire having had such a career. Because of that fact, I openly state that my retirement income generated by STRS Ohio has helped me to enjoy a wonderful and trouble-free retirement.

    D. Bezona — Retired 2007
    Cincinnati Public Schools, 16 Years
  • … I really enjoyed as an art teacher when STRS held a competition for teachers to submit art they created as a result of their interaction with their students. The STRS office area in Columbus was full of GREAT art and awards were given to artists. Imagine that — art being recognized as having value.

    R. Thies — Retired 1990
    Norwood City School District, 22 Years
  • My mother kept books for two local businesses for 34 years, yet when she retired, she only had Social Security to live on. Thanks to STRS, I will have [a] pension … Go, STRS, go!

    F. Davis — Current Teacher
    University of Cincinnati, 20 Years
  • Being a member has allowed me to have a comfortable and worry-free retirement and to achieve my bucket list.

    C. Reynolds — Retired 1993
    Warrensville Heights City Schools, 37 Years
  • So blessed to be a member of the strongest retirement system in the country. The other state system I worked in would not have allowed me NEARLY the financial benefits I enjoy here!

    B. Jones — Retired 2010
    Hocking College, 38 Years
  • I have a great retirement and health insurance I can count on. They [STRS Ohio] are responsive to any question I have.

    S. Gallagher — Retired 1994
    Princeton City Schools, 34 Years
  • STRS has provided me with the means to raise my four granddaughters.

    S. Steffes — Retired 2005
    Edon Northwest Local Schools, 35 Years
  • STRS has provided a good retirement along with my health care work. STRS provides good information about health care, insurances, current issues for teachers.

    D. Wise — Retired 2008
    Akron Public Schools, 50 Years
  • Good retirement. Great career … I felt I had freedom to support my family. After retirement I could have had a second career.

    W. Tipton — Retired 1986
    Clark-Shawnee Local School District, 35 Years
  • [STRS Ohio] has allowed me the security to retire at a reasonable age.

    D. Hoover — Retired 2015
    Bucyrus City Schools/Ashland University, 30 Years
  • STRS Ohio is the envy of educators in many other states and has allowed me to maintain a comfortable and secure retirement. While each person additionally needs to plan and contribute towards their own secure financial retirement, STRS provides the bedrock that we all need for our retirement.

    C. Clements — Retired 2017
    Dayton, Mad River, Fairborn, Anna and Southwestern Schools, 43 Years
  • I am 102 years old and in a retirement home which is partially supported by STRS.

    M. Neumann — Retired 1980
    Canton City Schools, 15 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I have peace of mind knowing STRS is taking care of teachers in Ohio, including myself.

    I. Baron — Retired 2006
    Newark City, Zanesville City and West Muskingum Local Schools, 43 Years
  • It has given me enough income to pay my expenses.

    V. Crim — Retired 1977
    Huber Heights, Montgomery County and Wapakoneta Schools, 19 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • An STRS Ohio seminar gave me invaluable information on how to combine my OPERS [Ohio Public Employees Retirement System] and STRS Ohio accounts so that retirement would go smoothly — which it did!

    L. Yoder — Retired 2013
    University of Kentucky, Hilliard City Schools, The Ohio State University, Heidelberg University, Cincinnati Christian Schools, 30 Years
  • … Having the dependable STRS check and insurance has provided financial stability allowing my wife and I to enjoy things we could not afford to do earlier.

    S. Seagrave — Retired 2002
    Liberty Center Local Schools, 30 Years
  • Knowing that I am a member of a well-managed retirement system gives me peace of mind about my income for the future. That knowledge also encouraged me to remain a public school teacher as opposed to looking for employment in another field.

    N. Moffitt — Retired 2005
    East Muskingum Local Schools, 30 Years
  • STRS has always been there for me!!!! … "I am firm in my belief that a teacher lives on and on through his students. Good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal." This plaque was given to a sister upon retirement. Thank you STRS for the many years of service!!!!

    M. Theiss — Retired 1986
    Milford Exempted Village, Pymatuning Valley Local and Princeton Local Schools, 32 Years
  • Great support financially and medical coverage. The “Road Shows” [Member Education Seminars] have been extremely important.

    J. Small — Retired 2011
    Youngstown State University, 38 Years
  • Love it [STRS Ohio]. Always on our side.

    K. Wujcik — Retired 2012
    Newton Falls Exempted Village, Bristol Local and Alliance City Schools, 35 Years
  • When I retired from the Canton City Schools … I was working on a Ph.D. in Secondary Education. My B.S. was in Elementary Education. My M.A. was in Speech Theatre. ... I had begun university level teaching while working on my second and third degrees. The financial benefits of STRS made this possible. In 2012, My husband and I relocated to Highlands County, FL, and my benefits have aided this transition.

    G. Eshelman — Retired 1995
    Canton, North Canton and Massillon City Schools and University of Akron, 31 Years
  • STRS has always treated me with professional respect.

    R. Telloni — Retired 2001
    South Amherst Local, Elyria City and Firelands Local Schools and Lorain County JVS, 30 Years
  • Thank goodness for STRS … I have been able to live comfortably and travel to wonderful places.

    D. Dotterer — Retired 1980
    Elida Local, West Muskingum Local and Central Local Schools, 33 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • [As relayed by family member] Mother counted on STRS to help her manage her money for retirement. She knew it couldn’t be the source of all her retirement needs (she set aside more funds). She knew she could count on them [STRS] to make it grow and be there.

    S. Deets — Retired 1983
    Beavercreek City Schools and Nebraska Schools, 29 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • It was worth putting up with those teenagers to have the excellent health insurance I now have in retirement. Thanks STRS.

    K. Carothers — Retired 1996
    Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, 22 Years
  • … Having moved to Arizona after retiring, I helped out at my grandchildren's elementary school classrooms. I realized how fortunate I was to have been an Ohio educator and receive STRS benefits.

    J. Wiedeman — Retired 2011
    Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, 35 Years
  • I loved helping children learn to communicate effectively and STRS helped me retire with enough money to be comfortable in my aging. I am grateful to them for creating such a wonderful retirement package for me.

    L. Phoenix-Abbott — Retired 2010
    Geauga County Educational Service Center, 35 Years

Teachers’ inspiration from their students

  • They have challenged me to be a better teacher, to really listen, to try to understand them and what their behavior is trying to communicate.

    D. Metzger — Retired 2020
    Olmsted Falls City Schools, 26 Years
  • ... I am inspired by the students who excel in the face of much adversity!

    L. Coldiron — Current Teacher
    Polaris Career Center, 31 Years
  • My students have special needs and they have inspired me to read, take classes, research, etc., to find ways to meet their unique needs. The joy on their faces as they succeed, and their self-esteem grows, continually inspires me and gives me unlimited joy.

    A. Martin — Current Teacher
    West Liberty-Salem Schools, 29 ½ Years
  • They let me know that my presence in their lives as a teacher had a major influence on their development into an adult.

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • ... She wanted to continuously stay after school to help me organize and prepare for the following school day. One day, she asked if I would drive her home and tell her mom she had been helping me. I replied, “Of course.”... Her letter thanking me for making her feel important inspired my work for 32 years!

    H. Kambon — Retired 2007
    Columbus City Schools, 32 Years
  • Students have inspired me to do whatever it takes to help a child to find success.

    C. McDonald — Retired 2012
    Orange City Schools, 40 Years
  • What inspired me the most was that I learned right alongside the kids. I felt they taught me how to be a better human.

    D. Prince — Retired 2007
    Columbus City Schools, 30 Years
  • My mostly 9th [grade] students were awesome! They never knew what I was going to do or say but were always ready to participate. ... Memories are now in notebooks with photos, notes and reminders of their constant inspiration.

    K. Schweitzer — Retired 2001
    Port Clinton City Schools, 30 Years
  • Students inspire me daily to stop and take the time to learn from them. ...

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • ... Since I taught art I was always amazed at their creativity! When I taught elementary art in a rural setting, I delighted in the imagination and exuberance of the children. Teaching inner city middle school students, I marveled at and encouraged their resilience! And when I taught at a suburban high school. I was inspired by how the students incorporated their passions and ideals into their artwork.

    M. Dennison — Retired 2016
    Dublin City Schools and Columbus Public Schools, 30 Years
  • They inspire me when they get that “got it” moment!

    A. Greathouse — Current Teacher
    Marietta City Schools, 7 Years
  • Students are resilient and watching their professional lives, humanitarian service and family lives helps me to realize each was worth my time and commitment.

    R. Evans — Retired 2009
    North Royalton City Schools, 45 Years
  • ... Nothing impacted me more than hearing from a former Computer Technology student who is now a civilian employee for the US Air Force. I received a postcard from Cairo, Egypt, and on it, Zach, a former student wrote, “I was driving down a street in Cairo, and I thought about you. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here working at a job I love. Thank you.”

    P. Oldham — Retired 2010
    Miami Valley Career Technology Center, 36 Years
  • Students inspired me by causing me to always examine myself as an educator. ... I was always challenged to do my best and allow students to question and analyze concepts within the curriculum and real-life situations.

    D. Gordon — Retired 2011
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 23 Years
  • To know the students home life and environment and to see them focus on learning and see it as a positive in their life. To see their enthusiasm to gain skills in reading or math or science and share their thoughts in their writing or illustrations. It gave me hope for their future, to know they gained the self-esteem to trust in their skills and knowledge to apply it to a future career or future parenting role.

    D. Demarest — Retired 2013
    Newark City Schools, 25 Years
  • After retiring a few years ago I saw a former student. When I had him in school he did not want to be there and as we know that can cause problems. … When we started chatting he apologized for his behavior during that year. ... It was absolutely gratifying to know he has turned out to be a very nice young man and that he did learn something from school!

    W. Doyle — Retired 2010
    United Local Schools, 36 Years
  • I enjoyed working with high school students because they kept me on my toes every day! I would get up at 4 a.m. every morning and arrived at school by 6 a.m. to plan out my day of lessons and lab projects. I looked forward to teaching every day! The kids kept me young.

    F. Weiss — Retired 2013
    Akron Public Schools, 27 Years
  • I’ve had many student success stories since I started teaching a Career Tech program in the fall of 1984. I have students that have their own engineering and architectural firms, one is VP of Engineering for her company, and there are dozens of similar stories like these. But one really stands out. I got an email in October of 2010 from a former student that started out with “Guess what? You aren’t going to believe this, but I am now the chief architect for preservation of the White House.”

    R. Buck — Current Teacher
    Sandusky City Schools, 36 Years
  • [I am inspired] when a student tells me how much my class helped them in their work life.

    J. Flood — Retired 2015
    Hocking College, 8 Years
  • Children grow up to be adults. It is easier to build a child than to repair an adult, so watching my students mature into successful citizens has been a great boost to my life. ... It’s always a pleasure to see a former student in the community and know that many still want a hug or handshake. To have a valedictorian write in his final essay that I had impacted his life the most of any teacher was a huge compliment.

    D. Sodders — Retired 2002
    Greenville City Schools, 30 Years
  • The smallest children showed me that kindness and love and generosity come naturally, and that prejudice and hate are taught. I wanted all the natural goodness to outweigh the harm that can come from adults. I still try to see troubling times through the eyes of a young child. It helps!

    D. Contner — Retired 2012
    Little Miami School District, 35 Years
  • … Their mostly uninhibited free-for-all exchanges were challenging and stimulating — you never know what’s coming next! Classroom verbal battles were the norm, choosing opposing sides on every possible issue! Managing the debate while being utterly neutral was challenging and enjoyable! I learned as much as anyone in class as a result! FUN!

    N. Blankenship — Retired 1992
    Kent State University, 30 Years
  • I am thrilled when I meet one of my former students and find out how successful they have become in life and I know that I was a small part of that success.

    M. Beaver — Retired 2005
    Conneaut Area City Schools, 36 Years
  • My students inspired me when they learned to trust and believe in their own ability to learn despite whatever titles [were] placed on them. Moreover, my students inspired me when they trusted enough in themselves to come out of their shell and come into their strengths, and weaknesses, willing to dare to dream, understand who they are, and learn beyond what they thought they could.

    R. Gillings — Retired 2002
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 20 Years
  • … It was a privilege to work with students who had to overcome tremendous adversity just to attend school on a daily basis. My greatest effort with students was in the area of helping them become better readers.

    S. Crosby — Retired 2017
    Akron Public Schools, 30 Years
  • It was always a privilege working with the children and their imaginations. So many artists.

    R. Thies — Retired 1990
    Norwood City School District, 22 Years
  • To never give up on ANY student and remember that all kids are different.

    M. Boatman — Retired 2006
    Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, 30 Years
  • When my students are motivated to work hard and master new and difficult techniques on their instruments it makes me so proud. Many of the students who had such an intense desire to do this were learning techniques that I could not perform, yet they outperformed their teacher!

    J. Breitigam — Retired 2019
    Arcadia Local Schools, 32 Years
  • I always had some of the tougher students. To this day I have students come up to me in public and thank me for being persistent and not giving up on them. They tell me that even though I was tough they learned a lot in my classes. They are thankful for my constant prodding to do better.

    A. Searles — Retired 1983
    Sebring Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Children have a beautiful sense of wonder. Biologically driven to make sense of the world, they soak up knowledge like a sponge, when allowed to explore the world around them. Their excitement and the pure joy of learning something new can often be contagious.

    D. Hoover — Retired 2015
    Bucyrus City Schools/Ashland University, 30 Years
  • Photo of L. Phoenix-Abbott.

    My students were low incidence students with hearing loss, visual loss, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, physical injuries from illness or accident, cognitive issues and Autism, but each and every one of them inspired me … 32 of my students have passed away but they live in my heart and mind. I am writing a book about my experiences so that they will never be forgotten. … I published a book in 2014 and am working on two more.

    L. Phoenix-Abbott — Retired 2010
    Geauga County Educational Service Center, 35 Years

Advice for teachers just starting their careers

  • To make sure you really love what you do and want to be a teacher. To really listen to their students, observe them, support them and their families in all ways. To be flexible, yet provide stability, a consistent schedule and daily routine. To balance your personal/professional life so you can be present at school and at home. Rely on your colleagues for support, guidance, knowledge. …

    D. Metzger — Retired 2020
    Olmsted Falls City Schools, 26 Years
  • Take care of these little boys and girls who need extra help. Be a good listener. Come a little earlier than just on time.

    J. Bartley — Retired 1982
    Pike County Schools (Kentucky) and Columbus Public Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Don’t think of it as a job. It’s a calling.

    E. Warffuel-Clark — Retired 1978
    Hudson City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools and Braceville Township Schools, 38 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Do your best.

    G. Wentz — Retired 1981
    Huron City Schools, Kenton City Schools and Radnor School, 22 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I would tell new teachers to enjoy the challenges of every day in the classroom. Your career will go by quickly so make the most of each day. Keep a log of funny things the students say and do so you can enjoy reliving it in your later years. Enjoy the commonalities and bonds that you build with your fellow educators — there is really no career quite like it!

    M. Venook — Retired 1980
    Columbus Public Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Hang in there! It may seem overwhelming at first but there [will be] moments that totally convince you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

    L. Coldiron — Current Teacher
    Polaris Career Center, 31 Years
  • Everything you do and say will be remembered by many of your students for the remainder of their lives. You are given the opportunity to “form the very lives” of your students.

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • Before you can teach you have to be able to manage/control the classroom. Those first few weeks are so important in setting up the year for success for both you and your students. Never give up on your students — fight for them. Also take the STRS seminars/workshops throughout your career.

    A. Martin — Current Teacher
    West Liberty-Salem Schools, 29 ½ Years
  • Teachers, you chose this profession. It is not a 9–5. It is full of psychology, spiritual challenges, tears, growth, depressive circumstances, toxic environments, etc. But, if you hang in there, some student, some parent, some administrator, some supervisor will say Thank You! It may not be face-to-face. But, somewhere in the universe one day a whisper will return back to you with a thank you for patience, love or a kind word. Hang in there! You were built for this!!

    H. Kambon — Retired 2007
    Columbus City Schools, 32 Years
  • Be a team player. Working with your colleagues ensures students success.

    C. McDonald — Retired 2012
    Orange City Schools, 40 Years
  • I would tell them to love what they do for their students and be prepared to always be a lifelong learner as a teacher. I would also recommend they start saving money the first year and every year after for retirement as there are no guarantees in life and you have to be prepared for what comes after.

    T. Imhoff — Retired 2014
    Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, 22 Years
  • Enjoy the children and teach things that are interesting to them. … Children are the future of our country.

    M. Allgood — Retired 1986
    Pulaski (Wilmington) School District and Taylor (New Castle) School District (both Pennsylvania); Poland Local Schools, 34 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • It’s not really profitable, but very rewarding mentally knowing that you are helping someone else.

    R. Larson — Retired 1979
    The Ohio State University, 7 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • … You, as their teacher, will have a tremendous impact on their lives — they need you!!

    D. Smith — Retired 1978
    Springfield Local Schools, Mansfield City Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Before we can hope to be of help to a child, we must know the child as he is, not as we read about him in books, or the way we may hope he is. … Children are curious and answering their questions is an art. A teacher must not be too preoccupied to answer their questions, and yet, one must be careful to avoid imposing our adult ideas upon their minds. … A good teacher will help to aid the children’s parent in guiding the children to a knowledge of the world around them and hopefully to a love for learning.

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Love your students!

    E. Follett — Retired 1979
    Kettering Public Schools, 14 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Always try to remember that the children that act out and misbehave need the most love.

    G. Yeager — Retired 1983
    Toledo Public Schools, Alliance City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Hang in there! Have some fun with your kids, but endeavor to convince them they need to profit by their educational opportunities.

    M. Roush — Retired 1983
    Orville City Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • [You] can influence young minds.

    K. Gardner — Retired 1971
    Garaway Local Schools, 35 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • You must like children. Take time for your own family.

    R. Emmitt — Retired 1974
    Akron City Public Schools, 32 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I have watched children using computers and laptops and I see how interested they are, so teachers will need to be stimulating, interesting and concerned. No sitting behind desks and talking.

    T. Lewis — Retired 1983
    Shawnee Local Schools, Barberton City Schools, Mt. Gilead Exempted Village Schools, and Summit County (West Franklin) Schools, 35 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Love each child and help them develop as much as possible.

    M. Beechy — Retired 1975
    Wooster City Schools, Milton Township Schools, Paint Township Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Stay sane. You cannot do everything in one day, week, or even year. Pace yourself and make each day and year better. Your state of mind for you is number one. The kids sense it and feed off of it.

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • Remember why you became a teacher and don't let anyone change that reason.

    J. Hilderbrand — Current Teacher
    Ohio Valley Local School District and Northwest Local Schools, 9 Years
  • Be yourself, children see through anxiety and pretend. Relax. Do not be afraid to ask students "what would [a] teacher do" when asked questions that are not in the lesson plans. You will be surprised how honest and mature they are.

    K. Huffman — Current Teacher
    ESC Council of Governments, Fairbanks Local Schools, 4 Years
  • Always do what is best for children ... programs, latest greatest, and trends come and go ... but if you keep your eye on who matters most it will be the best choice you can make!

    M. Reece — Current Teacher
    Kings Local School District, 33 Years
  • Find time in your daily schedule to teach handwriting! Research has proven handwriting skills help the brain and increases academic performance in reading and math.

    N. Amidon — Retired 1978
    Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, Conneaut (Ashtabula Area Schools), 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Choose undergraduate school carefully. Be sure it is strong in your major.

    H. Sonnhalter — Retired 1982
    Notre Dame Academy, Plain Local Schools, Shaker Heights Schools, Canton Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Keep in mind that each student is an individual with their own likes, dislikes, home story and life experiences. Be kind, respectful, understanding and listen. Remember — a bad day is usually followed by a good day. Have fun too!

    W. Hammond — Retired 1973
    Northwest Local Schools, Finneytown Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Remain positive and work to improve each day, week, month, and year of your career. Avoid becoming complacent by always trying to improve.

    R. Boynton — Retired 2008
    Amherst Exempted Village Schools, 35 Years
  • My advice to beginning teachers, is “Don’t give up!” There will be days when you want to just walk out and not look back! Remember, you want to be the reason that your students want to come to school every day. So, make every day count and make every student count.

    P. Oldham — Retired 2010
    Miami Valley Career Technology Center, 36 Years
  • Each new school year brings a sense of excitement, a little anxiety and a ton of hopefulness. We must remember why we were called by the Lord to be educators for the past years. It does not matter if it is your first year or your 45th, bring your “A” game for each child you interact with this year. You just might change a life forever.

    D. Rotella — Retired 2010
    Gahanna Jefferson City Schools, 45 Years
  • We all need money to live, but if you go into teaching looking for money, you probably won’t be satisfied. You must deeply care about making a difference in young people’s lives and helping them find satisfaction in themselves and uncover their personal talents. ... No matter how brilliant you are at what you teach, empathy supersedes knowledge!

    M. Spear — Retired 2008
    Waterloo Schools, 35 Years
  • Do a lot of journaling ... You will log things about your students that will be helpful to look back over as the year progresses and you will see growth and resolution of problems. … When you feel like you are expected to be all and do all, re-center yourself to know that being a positive person in a student’s life is the best gift you can give.

    D. Demarest — Retired 2013
    Newark City Schools, 25 Years
  • I recall the saying I whispered to myself every day I entered the classroom: “Students don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

    W. Madison — Retired 2001
    Miami University, 18 Years
  • Stick with it and save, save.

    J. Albert — Retired 2004
    Lancaster City Schools, 37 Years
  • There is always so much you can learn from your students. If you can’t or don’t, you are not doing your job!

    L. Hallewell — Retired 1998
    The Ohio State University, 5 Years
  • You will be impacting our future. Be positive even in the case of disappointments.

    G. Ross — Retired 2012
    West Carrollton City School District, two schools in Pennsylvania, 30 Years
  • Dress and act professionally every day. Students will see you as a role model.

    R. Corgan — Retired 2013
    University of Cincinnati, 33 Years
  • Take time to listen to the students — let them know that you are interested in them and that you respect their opinions. Treat them like you would treat any young adult by being a friend, while still being their guide to discipline in learning and in behavior. Be someone that your students will remember with fond memories 10 years from now.

    H. Meiners — Retired 2019
    Great Oaks, 18 Years
  • Take the time to keep a journal about your teaching career. Write down as many memories as you can. Write about the good, bad, and ugly days that you will have … the funny things your students do and say … the poignant moments that happen with your students. Also, take a yearly class picture and label with their names. After several years and thousands of students, you will forget …

    N. Thomas — Retired 2012
    Fairbanks Local Schools, 35 Years
  • Take the time to get to know your students as individuals. Get familiar with their learning style, their personal interests and their body language. Build relationships with them that are based on respect, understanding and compassion. Teaching the subject matter will come much more easily and successfully. ...

    W. Northrup — Retired 1999
    Worthington City Schools, 10 Years
  • Teach if you love working with children. Don’t teach for the money. …

    A. Searles — Retired 1983
    Sebring Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My advice to new teachers is to be SURE you really love what you are doing. … When problems come up, try to handle them with the kind of love that you would with your own family and that you would want your children’s teachers to show them. I became a much better teacher after I had children. I understood the worries that parents have about their own children. …

    S. Gallagher — Retired 1994
    Princeton City Schools, 34 Years
  • Teaching should always be about the students and not about the adults.

    C. Clements — Retired 2017
    Dayton, Mad River, Fairborn, Anna and Southwestern Schools, 43 Years
  • Enjoy your students and teaching.

    M. Neumann — Retired 1980
    Canton City Schools, 15 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Keep those annual school photos and keep track of your students’ names and addresses. It is so delightful to correspond and see the adults they have grown into.

    S. Seagrave — Retired 2002
    Liberty Center Local Schools, 30 Years
  • Teachers should like what they do. Too many people consider teaching just a job rather than a career calling. Always try to do the best job you can because you are a role model for your students.

    M. Cargo — Retired 1971
    Youngstown City, Warren City and Howland Local Schools, 18 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • … I would hope that they consider whether or not they truly like children and enjoy being with them for long periods of time. I hope they will be prepared to listen … and truly consider what is said and develop each individual mind.

    D. Dotterer — Retired 1980
    Elida Local, West Muskingum Local and Central Local Schools, 33 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Make certain it is what you want to do. If it isn’t, get out and find a more fitting occupation. Teaching should be rewarding for both the children and the teacher.

    S. Deets — Retired 1983
    Beavercreek City Schools and Nebraska Schools, 29 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Learn classroom discipline and control first and never smile until after Halloween.

    K. Carothers — Retired 1996
    Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, 22 Years

Reason for becoming a teacher

  • I was impressed by the teachers who had taught me.

    H.M. Kuhn — Retired 1972
    Forest Hills & North College Hill Public Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Because I loved working with children, especially those with special needs, supporting them and their families and helping them change and grow.

    D. Metzger — Retired 2020
    Olmsted Falls City Schools, 26 Years
  • I like working with children. I came from a family of teachers; six family members.

    J. Bartley — Retired 1982
    Pike County Schools (Kentucky) and Columbus Public Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Best career for women in 1936. Two sisters were teachers. One granddaughter is now a teacher.

    R. Crow — Retired 1979
    Liberty-Benton Local Schools, Columbus Grove Local Schools and Riley Township Schools, 28 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Mother was a teacher. We loved children.

    E. Warffuel-Clark — Retired 1978
    Hudson City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools and Braceville Township Schools, 38 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I always loved learning and school, so growing up I thought I wanted to be a teacher, which is good because when I graduated college in 1940, there were not a lot of career choices for women — it was pretty much teacher or nurse.

    M. Venook — Retired 1980
    Columbus Public Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • In those times, teacher, nurse or secretary were the major areas of employment for women.

    G. Wentz — Retired 1981
    Huron City Schools, Kenton City Schools and Radnor School, 22 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Because I got the “best” the public had to offer ... their “children.”

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • Have always taught friends and family ... love the interaction and sharing of information. I’m a do it person, not a watch it [person]!

    V. Grear — Current Teacher
    Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, 24 Years
  • Being part of the first generation where women first started to flood college campuses it was pretty much the norm that you would either become a teacher or a nurse. ...

    C. McDonald — Retired 2012
    Orange City Schools, 40 Years
  • My aunt was a teacher and also my mentor. She gave me books and spoke to me about teaching. I attended Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania during the depression which at the time focused on how to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. My aunt enrolled me in college and my parents mortgaged their home to pay for my education.

    M. Allgood — Retired 1986
    Pulaski (Wilmington) School District and Taylor (New Castle) School District (both Pennsylvania); Poland Local Schools, 34 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I always looked up to teachers. My mother had taught in a one-room school house on the Kansas prairie!

    D. Smith — Retired 1978
    Springfield Local Schools, Mansfield City Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I greatly enjoy learning and enjoy sharing my knowledge.

    I graduated from high school in 1935. After 1929 the U.S. had our worst depression. The years 1941 to 1945 were the second World War years. When a branch of Ohio University was opened, it was within driving range of my home. I enrolled to become a teacher.

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My mother taught in public school and my father in public school and at the collegiate level, so it seemed only natural to follow their footsteps. Besides, I always liked to teach Sunday School class and was interested in supplementing the family’s income.

    E. Follett — Retired 1979
    Kettering Public Schools, 14 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I loved being a mom to my two little boys, and after they were a little older I knew I would love teaching young children.

    G. Yeager — Retired 1983
    Toledo Public Schools, Alliance City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Miss Blue, my ninth-grade art teacher, inspired and encouraged me.

    M. Roush — Retired 1983
    Orville City Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My mother had teachers as boarders when I was a child and it was all I knew.

    K. Gardner — Retired 1971
    Garaway Local Schools, 35 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Seeing what happened to my father during the depression, I wanted the security of teaching.

    R. Emmitt — Retired 1974
    Akron City Public Schools, 32 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I was already a mother when I went to college so being a teacher gave me summers off with my children and also school holidays.

    M. Gilmore — Retired 1979
    Toledo Public Schools, 27 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I always wanted to be a teacher.

    M. Beechy — Retired 1975
    Wooster City Schools, Milton Township Schools, Paint Township Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I became a teacher because of the love, care, nurturing, and passion that my middle school teacher showed me when I was at that influential age.

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • To change someone's life.

    J. Hilderbrand — Current Teacher
    Ohio Valley Local School District and Northwest Local Schools, 9 Years
  • I have a sister with cerebral palsy and autism. She is the reason that I am an intervention specialist. I teach all of my students as if they are my own sister.

    A. Kiene — Current Teacher
    Bluffton Exempted Village School District, 3 Years
  • I became a teacher because someone told me I could not teach values to children. This challenged me to return to college as a post-graduate and earn my teaching degree.

    G. Lima — Retired 1987
    Avon Local Schools, Rocky River City Schools, 8 Years
  • I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was very little I used to cut pictures of children out of catalogues and pretend they were in school and I was the teacher. ...

    N. Amidon — Retired 1978
    Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, Conneaut (Ashtabula Area Schools), 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Back at that time, women seemed to only have three choices — a nurse, a secretary or a teacher. ...

    R. Heinzerling — Retired 1976
    Wauseon Exempted Village School District, Northwest State Community College, 33 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I taught Sunday School classes while in High School. I liked children so decided to be a school teacher.

    A. Spillman — Retired 1979
    Roseville Area and Zanesville Schools, 8 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Liked working with children/young adults.

    H. Sonnhalter — Retired 1982
    Notre Dame Academy, Plain Local Schools, Shaker Heights Schools, Canton Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Love of children and desire to impact their lives positively.

    W. Hammond — Retired 1973
    Northwest Local Schools, Finneytown Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I became a special education teacher in 1975 to help those who were least able to help themselves. To help each and every special education student rise to their highest potential. This gave me great joy. To see students succeed in high school, some go to college and others working in the community is what I call success.

    C. Carter — Retired 2010
    Jackson Local Schools, 35 Years
  • I became a teacher because I enjoy children of all ages. I liked sharing knowledge with them, especially my favorite subject of art. I knew that I would be paid equally with my male colleagues. I was willing to accept the fact that I would never be rich with lots of money, yet I was mentally wealthy from the love of my job. …

    K. Davis — Retired 2013
    Southwest Licking Local Schools, 25 Years
  • I never planned to be a teacher. I was working as an engineer in a local company and one day my former instructor called me and said he was going to retire at the end of the current school year and he wanted to know if I would be interested in his position. I didn’t know what to say at first, but I figured if he thought that much of me to ask, I should at least follow through. I was obviously hired and that was one of the best decisions I ever made.

    R. Buck — Current Teacher
    Sandusky City Schools, 36 Years
  • I enjoy seeing my students blossom and absorb the knowledge I can present to them.

    J. Flood — Retired 2015
    Hocking College, 8 Years
  • My grandmother was a teacher, my mom was a teacher and my sister was a teacher so I felt I’d make a good teacher. This after the fact I was a Marine who served in Vietnam and attended college to become a teacher later in my life.

    C. Knepshield — Retired 2006
    Middletown City Schools, 31 Years
  • The MD teaching human anatomy asked me to grade test papers for the class and asked me to tutor those having trouble with it. In the days of real “flunk-out-courses” I found tutoring to be very challenging and rewarding. Figuring out someone’s learning style, to see how best to work with them in their trouble spots, and then seeing the light bulb come on in their eyes, was very rewarding! The same thing happened in Kinesiology class and both profs encouraged me to pursue teaching, so I did!

    N. Blankenship — Retired 1992
    Kent State University, 30 Years
  • I knew I wanted to be a teacher in first grade. My first-grade teacher Mrs. Bonner was a gem. She was very kind, fun and caring to all the students in the class. She daily read books to us which help made reading [and] learning fun and exciting. …

    D. Penn — Retired 2013
    Warrensville Heights City Schools, 26 Years
  • I was a waterfront director at a Boy Scout camp. At four o'clock we have the only free swim after a long day's work. I was helping a scout finish his canoeing merit badge. It ran over about 10 minutes. The scout was really small and could barely do the requirement, but I couldn't stop helping and encouraging him because he wouldn't quit. When he finished, we both looked up to hear a standing ovation from the scouts and leaders who had waited patiently to swim on a hot day.

    M. Sander — Retired 2011
    Berne Union Local Schools, 30 Years
  • During my childhood in the 1940s I enjoyed playing school with a chalkboard easel, chalk and eraser with neighborhood friends as students. As I matured in high school I realized that teaching was a calling to a profession. At the university level I realized teaching was also an art and a science. I liked working with children and found satisfaction in observing students develop socially, emotionally, and physically as well as cognitively. I appreciated the support of the parents.

    S. Hirsch — Retired 1994
    Toledo Public Schools, 37 Years
  • I decided to become a teacher after a volunteer position in high school, working with special needs students. I saw that all children have the desire to learn and need advocates to allow them the freedom and opportunity to develop their talents. I also realized that in working together, my students continually taught me how to be a better teacher and person.

    J. Payne — Retired 2017
    Little Miami Schools, 25 Years
  • I was inspired to become a teacher at the age of 10. I loved my elementary teachers and wanted to be just like them. Recently I ran into some of my former students at their 40th reunion. Their words of gratitude and heartfelt thanks made me realize that teaching was truly my calling and that if you wait long enough your students will find a way to make teaching very rewarding.

    C. Smith — Retired 1999
    Columbus Public Schools, 30 Years
  • I was inspired by my high school shorthand teacher who encouraged me to do my best. I wanted to be a teacher like her.

    R. Corgan — Retired 2013
    University of Cincinnati, 33 Years
  • As a 16-year-old student, my guidance counselor suggested I attend our local "vocational school.” I not only attended, but have also spent 37 years working in a great career education center helping kids explore early childhood education. I became a teacher because of the teachers I had at Medina Career Center.

    T. Lutes — Current Teacher
    R.G. Drage Career Technical Center, 37 Years
  • I always wanted to help and be a part of someone’s journey to better their lives … the world is a much better place when those who “can” help those who feel they “can't!”

    K. Mobley — Retired 2014
    Defiance College and Bowling Green State University, 20 Years
  • I became a teacher because of my second-grade teacher, middle school math teacher and high school art teacher all who showed an interest in my learning. My teachers showed that they cared about me by complimenting my work, being genuinely involved teaching, showing by example, giving encouragement, and challenging me to have confidence and patience with myself throughout the learning process. I knew in second grade I wanted to become a teacher and give back what was given to me.

    R. Gillings — Retired 2002
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 20 Years
  • I became a teacher because of the outstanding educators that I had while I went to school. My band director was one of those teachers who really cared about the success of his students and inspired me to model that same type of teaching.

    J. Breitigam — Retired 2019
    Arcadia Local Schools, 32 Years
  • I wanted to have an impact on young peoples’ lives.

    A. Searles — Retired 1983
    Sebring Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I always knew that I wanted to be a math teacher. My mom recorded in my “baby book” at five years of age that I said that’s what I wanted to do. NOT just a teacher, but specifically a MATH teacher. Enjoyed teaching so much and found it so fulfilling that when I retired after 30 years, I spent the first 8 years of retirement teaching in another state. …

    B. Jones — Retired 2010
    Hocking College, 38 Years
  • I became a speech-language pathologist because I have a strong desire to problem solve neurological function to help learning disabilities, motivate children to achieve in education and succeed in life.

    D. Wise — Retired 2008
    Akron Public Schools, 50 Years
  • In the Coast Guard they sent me to Instructor Training school. I wrote the book Teaching By Lesson Planning … Keep on learning and impart what you learn with love in your heart for your fellow humans.

    H. Firestone — Retired 1999
    Cleveland Metro Schools, 18 Years
  • … When I was a boy it seemed to me one was a doctor, or a lawyer or a sheriff. Or a teacher! Or you were nobody. I was going to be somebody. And so I was…

    W. Tipton — Retired 1986
    Clark-Shawnee Local School District, 35 Years
  • I wanted to be in a career where I could help students become self-reliant, achieve, and then become more than they ever thought they could.

    C. Clements — Retired 2017
    Dayton, Mad River, Fairborn, Anna and Southwestern Schools, 43 Years
  • To show students how math is important in their everyday life.

    M. Neumann — Retired 1980
    Canton City Schools, 15 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I liked children and I liked having the summers off.

    V. Crim — Retired 1977
    Huber Heights, Montgomery County and Wapakoneta Schools, 19 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My six older sisters were teachers.

    L. Short — Retired 1981
    German Township and Archbald Local Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I always wanted to be a teacher — I loved school as a child and wanted to be in that arena. I found that teachers are some of the best people, most fun people to be around!

    L. Yoder — Retired 2013
    University of Kentucky, Hilliard City Schools, The Ohio State University, Heidelberg University, Cincinnati Christian Schools, 30 Years
  • I did not plan on being a teacher … [I] decided to be a substitute for a while and went back to college and attained my teaching certificate and loved being a teacher. My years as a Kindergarten teacher [were] very enjoyable.

    C. Carr — Retired 1992
    Hamilton City Schools; Fayetteville-Perry, Eastern, Western Brown and Ripley Union Lewis Huntington Local Schools; and Brown County ESC, 33 Years
  • I enjoyed young children. I felt comfortable with the profession. It was one of the professions that held appeal for girl graduates (high school) in 1935.

    V. Fields — Retired 1977
    Botkins Local Schools and Sidney City Schools, 27 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I love to learn, and I love to share what I've learned ... I was the first member of my father's family to graduate from high school. I was the first member of my entire family to earn a university degree. I now have three. …

    G. Eshelman — Retired 1995
    Canton, North Canton and Massillon City Schools and University of Akron, 31 Years
  • My thoughts focus on my own education in the Lorain City Schools. I was blessed to have grown up in a community rich in cultural, ethnic, religious and racial diversity. While I cheered for athletes and entertainers, my true inspirations were my teachers. Their tireless dedication served as the example on which I built my own professional foundation. So, when I hear and read that my students praise me as one their best teachers, I share that praise with the teachers who inspired me.

    R. Telloni — Retired 2001
    South Amherst Local, Elyria City and Firelands Local Schools and Lorain County JVS, 30 Years
  • In the 1930s there were few career options for women. I admired my teachers as I was growing up and wanted to be like them. I can still name all my teachers through elementary school and most through high school.

    M. Cargo — Retired 1971
    Youngstown City, Warren City and Howland Local Schools, 18 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • … I was the sixth member of a family of seven in which there was a doctor and two teachers. I played with nieces and nephews as THE teacher so it developed naturally, it seemed.

    D. Dotterer — Retired 1980
    Elida Local, West Muskingum Local and Central Local Schools, 33 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I liked books and children, so I worked with both of them [as a librarian].

    R. Fleischner — Retired 1979
    Cleveland Public Schools, 5 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I heard Miss America when I was in 9th grade in 1970 say she was a speech language pathologist and she helped children learn to communicate. I thought that was the noblest thing anyone could do with their life, so I pursued the career … After working in 27 school districts in 4 states — my husband was a pastor so we moved a lot — I can say it has lived up to my expectations.

    L. Phoenix-Abbott — Retired 2010
    Geauga County Educational Service Center, 35 Years
  • Teachers helped me realize [my] potential, especially when I was in a bad place after the death of my father at an early age.

    J. Kingsboro — Current Teacher
    Wittenberg University and The Ohio State University, 45 Years

How teaching career impacted longevity

  • I had something to get up for in the morning. I liked being busy.

    J. Bartley — Retired 1982
    Pike County Schools (Kentucky) and Columbus Public Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Teaching kept me young. I loved the children and worked until age 70. …

    M. Allgood — Retired 1986
    Pulaski (Wilmington) School District and Taylor (New Castle) School District (both Pennsylvania); Poland Local Schools, 34 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I have been a life-long learner — always keeping my mind active with travel, puzzles, games, learning new things.

    D. Smith — Retired 1978
    Springfield Local Schools, Mansfield City Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I am 102, and I think it [longevity] is genetic. My sister is now 105 and still living in her own house.

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I have always been happy to teach, and I believe that happiness contributes to a long life.

    E. Follett — Retired 1979
    Kettering Public Schools, 14 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My loving family impacted my longevity. It helped me to cope with the stress of teaching.

    R. Emmitt — Retired 1974
    Akron City Public Schools, 32 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • It kept life interesting.

    T. Lewis — Retired 1983
    Shawnee Local Schools, Barberton City Schools, Mt. Gilead Exempted Village Schools, and Summit County (West Franklin) Schools, 35 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I liked the children. Each year they seemed like my children.

    M. Beechy — Retired 1975
    Wooster City Schools, Milton Township Schools, Paint Township Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I think teaching did have a positive impact on my life because I really enjoyed the children, the structure and routine of a classroom, keeping a positive attitude and the joy of seeing the accomplishments the children made throughout the years.

    N. Amidon — Retired 1978
    Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, Conneaut (Ashtabula Area Schools), 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • [Teaching] kept my physically fit and active for many years.

    H. Sonnhalter — Retired 1982
    Notre Dame Academy, Plain Local Schools, Shaker Heights Schools, Canton Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The ongoing contacts and friendships that were developed kept me active physically, mentally and intellectually. It made me always appreciate young people.

    W. Hammond — Retired 1973
    Northwest Local Schools, Finneytown Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Photo of S. Deets.

    … It kept me active and engaged. Loved the children and all the activity.

    S. Deets — Retired 1983
    Beavercreek City Schools and Nebraska Schools, 29 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member

Difference in classrooms — first one taught in and today’s

  • I did not have a classroom. Teachers went from room to room on different floors — carrying books and supplies.

    R. Crow — Retired 1979
    Liberty-Benton Local Schools, Columbus Grove Local Schools and Riley Township Schools, 28 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • First school was a 4-room building.

    G. Wentz — Retired 1981
    Huron City Schools, Kenton City Schools and Radnor School, 22 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My English classroom consisted of student desks, a coat rack and a chalkboard. I spent days in the summer decorating my classroom, so it was inviting and warm for the students. Speaking of warm — the schools were not air-conditioned back in the day!

    M. Venook — Retired 1980
    Columbus Public Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The facility I now teach in is beautiful with state-of-the-art equipment — far from the minimal, donated equipment I began with.

    L. Coldiron — Current Teacher
    Polaris Career Center, 31 Years
  • ... The population changes with every new student introduced to my classroom. Teaching changes to meet a variety of medically fragile needs students bring to the classroom.

    V. Grear — Current Teacher
    Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, 24 Years
  • No air conditioning, no computers tablets, no cell phones, no phones in classrooms. There were no state standards, little accountability, no rigorous curriculum, little team work, very isolated in your own classroom.

    C. McDonald — Retired 2012
    Orange City Schools, 40 Years
  • The first class sizes were pretty similar to my last four or five years — I had large classes in a too small room, versus the same large classes in my early years. Most all students in the first classes were respectful, ready to learn, and I had parental support. In my last years, many students were disrespectful to me and class supplies. ...

    T. Imhoff — Retired 2014
    Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, 22 Years
  • When I started working, I got paid $100/month ($800/year). I started teaching grades 1 thru 8 in a one-room schoolhouse. In the winter, I had to arrive early to start the fire and students would ice skate on the pond next to the school. I had about 19 students and the older ones would help with the younger students.

    M. Allgood — Retired 1986
    Pulaski (Wilmington) School District and Taylor (New Castle) School District (both Pennsylvania); Poland Local Schools, 34 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • When I graduated [college], I was hired to teach fourth grade at Westbrooke, a branch of Bridgeport Exempted Schools. In this classroom chairs were moveable, and each child had a locker on the wall. … Children moved easily in my classroom and often worked lessons together. … The teacher had more time to help individual students.

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My first year’s classroom was well furnished and equipped. My second was pretty scanty until I requisitioned (gradually) things I needed … The art room was the cafeteria or gym floor.

    M. Roush — Retired 1983
    Orville City Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • No teachers’ guides or workbooks. No supplies. Used blackboards.

    K. Gardner — Retired 1971
    Garaway Local Schools, 35 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The first year I taught [in] a one-room school. There were six grades with 22 children. At Thanksgiving, a family with four children moved. That helped.

    M. Beechy — Retired 1975
    Wooster City Schools, Milton Township Schools, Paint Township Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • First classroom was one I shared ... It was in a non-air conditioned 1900's building with one, maybe two, phones total. ... Today every student has an iPad and I have 30 keyboards to attach to them. ... Life is different, but the desire to learn and [the] respect gained is the same.

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • When I began teaching there was no set curriculum. There [was] a pile of textbooks on my desk and that was my curriculum. There were no cell phones, iPads, Chromebooks, computers. ...

    N. Miller — Current Teacher
    Georgetown Exempted Village Schools, 31 Years
  • My first classroom was a one-room country school — grades 1–8.

    R. Heinzerling — Retired 1976
    Wauseon Exempted Village School District, Northwest State Community College, 33 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • ... My first experience in Ohio was at Colerain teaching fifth grade. ... My “so-called” room was in one half of the gym floor. The other half was occupied by the other fifth grade teacher. We had other extra-curricular activities during the day, such as band practice, instrumental lessons, glee club and chorus, going on while we were teaching. ...

    W. Hammond — Retired 1973
    Northwest Local Schools, Finneytown Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I started in elementary education in my home parish Catholic school. I had 5th grade and shared teaching with a nun, each of us splitting the subjects between two groups. I had 45 students in one reading group and NO discipline problems! It remains my best year of teaching in what has now stretched with subbing to 51 years. …

    M. Spear — Retired 2008
    Waterloo Schools, 35 Years
  • My first classroom had creaky wooden floors, no air conditioning, and old blackboards with chalk! Twenty years later I taught in a carpeted, air-conditioned portable classroom double trailer for a few years. Then finally in the early 2000s I was rewarded by moving into a brand-new building with shiny floors, air conditioning, and white boards! No more chalk dust!

    D. Dunbar — Retired 2004
    Northeastern Local Schools, 34 Years
  • I now help with student teachers and I am also on our local school board of education. As I visit classrooms, serve on district lead team, am a member of Future Ready activities, study state standards and graduation requirements, I am overwhelmed with the teachers’ responsibilities. It is demanding more of their time than ever before. They have more professional development, graduate classes and data along with keeping up with the latest technology information. But they still love the kids!

    W. Doyle — Retired 2010
    United Local Schools, 36 Years
  • In 1984 engineering and architectural plan design drawings were still made with pencil and paper and copies were made by blueprinting. When CAD (computer aided design) came out it took great effort for me to learn something totally foreign to me. Now PCs are everywhere ...

    R. Buck — Current Teacher
    Sandusky City Schools, 36 Years
  • When I began in 1973, there was no technology other than educational TV shows like “The Electric Company.” We used chalk on a green board, not a white board. Clocks were still analog, not digital.

    D. Sodders — Retired 2002
    Greenville City Schools, 30 Years
  • When I started teaching we had all classes in one room. You taught all subjects. There was no changing classrooms … no computers, no calculators. Students had to do research the old-fashioned way. They had to pack their lunches. There were no hot lunches with aid to the students who couldn’t afford to buy lunch. The kids had to walk to school. There were no buses.

    A. Searles — Retired 1983
    Sebring Local Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My first classroom was in a church a block from the school. I had a large group of kindergarteners, a small room, a piano, paper, paste, crayons and scissors. I had a bowl of water to wash hands. That was it! I learned quickly how to be creative! …

    S. Gallagher — Retired 1994
    Princeton City Schools, 34 Years
  • The children were much quieter in the classroom. One year the teachers had to go back to class to learn how to teach the new math.

    V. Crim — Retired 1977
    Huber Heights, Montgomery County and Wapakoneta Schools, 19 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • … My first classroom had one electrical outlet that was so loose I had to hold the plug in to get the tape recorder to work. There were no videos or DVD's, only movies or filmstrips … no access to copiers, only purple ditto masters … no affordable calculators so we added grades by hand. … And we never even dreamed of smart boards, we had chalk boards.

    N. Moffitt — Retired 2005
    East Muskingum Local Schools, 30 Years
  • It was a combined first and second grade. My salary was $900 a year.

    V. Fields — Retired 1977
    Botkins Local Schools and Sidney City Schools, 27 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • My first teaching experience … was in a one-room school in which I was teacher, janitor, and custodian for eight months. The salary was $800. Each month I received a check for $97 [of which] $3 being withheld each time for teachers’ retirement. …

    D. Dotterer — Retired 1980
    Elida Local, West Muskingum Local and Central Local Schools, 33 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • … We found a place on the West side to live (my husband and I) and I worked on the East side, so we took the street cars they ran on rails to get back and forth. They didn’t make cars during the war.

    R. Fleischner — Retired 1979
    Cleveland Public Schools, 5 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • [As relayed by family member] Mother started teaching directly out of high school in 1935. .... She rode a horse to a rural school … She also taught in a two-room schoolhouse near the Village of Wellfleet, Nebraska. She rented a room in a house three miles away. The son would take her to the school and back in a horse and buggy.

    S. Deets — Retired 1983
    Beavercreek City Schools and Nebraska Schools, 29 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I was overwhelmed by having 44 seventh graders in my class the first year I taught. I recall being so tired when I got home that I didn’t attend an evening school event. There was also a prohibition against being married when I first began teaching. Fortunately, that policy was eventually changed.

    M. Cargo — Retired 1971
    Youngstown City, Warren City and Howland Local Schools, 18 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member

The most rewarding aspects of teaching

  • Building relationships with children and families. Helping their minds and behavior change and grow. Watching the light bulb turn on for the first time when a student understands a new concept. …

    D. Metzger — Retired 2020
    Olmsted Falls City Schools, 26 Years
  • I think all the years of keeping busy with the daily activities of teaching has helped my health and longevity. A teacher always needs to be on her toes mentally to keep up with the youngsters and physically while moving all over the classroom, and that has carried over into my active life of a 100-year-old!

    M. Venook — Retired 1980
    Columbus Public Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The delight of a student when they succeed at learning.

    A. Smith — Retired 2005
    Massillon City Schools, 32 Years
  • Walking through Walmart every day and being asked “Hey Mr. Sites, do you remember when ... ” The endless stories start to reappear in your mind of incidents that took place over past years but had a definite influence in a person’s life.

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • Knowing I made a difference in so many lives. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but after retirement, I have either run into past students or communicated on social media and so many of them made me realize what an impact I had on their lives.

    R. Giuliano — Retired 2012
    Hamilton City Schools, 30 Years
  • To see the students grow and develop their style of learning and interacting with their environments.

    V. Grear — Current Teacher
    Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, 24 Years
  • The most rewarding aspects of teaching are definitely not monetary. I love seeing the light come on in a student's eyes when they finally grasp a concept. I enjoy meeting former students in public and have them come up to me and express their appreciation. The excitement in a classroom is a real personal motivator.

    J. Santee — Retired 2009
    Blanchester Local Schools, 30 Years
  • I really enjoyed being a reading teacher. The classes were small, and the students were eager to learn. I could concentrate on teaching and not worry about all the extra duties expected of a regular classroom teacher.

    M. Gilmore — Retired 1979
    Toledo Public Schools, 27 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • The most rewarding aspect of teaching is seeing the learning, and the moments won, by students who aspire to be better every day.

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • [It is rewarding] knowing that you have helped our leaders of tomorrow get the best education possible and encourage them to think of themselves as a leader. A great feeling that makes you want to continue.

    K. Huffman — Current Teacher
    ESC Council of Governments, Fairbanks Local Schools, 4 Years
  • I created the first online, accredited Health Information Administration baccalaureate program in Ohio, making it possible for students from all over the country to complete their degree anytime, anywhere. The amount of gas and time on the road is better spent on other needs. We’re making education accessible and saving the environment one online student at a time!

    M. Janes — Current Teacher
    University of Toledo, 17 Years
  • The most rewarding aspect of teaching for me is the love of learning that can be instilled in our students through building relationships. Love, in general, is such a reward in this profession. I love these kids and they love me.

    N. Miller — Current Teacher
    Georgetown Exempted Village Schools, 31 Years
  • Having students of former students is so heartwarming. They are like family!

    M. Reece — Current Teacher
    Kings Local School District, 33 Years
  • I became a teacher because my teachers inspired me and filled me with a love for learning. I have had the privilege to do the same for many of my students. I currently teach with former students who became teachers because of me. There is nothing more rewarding than to know you have influenced the teachers of tomorrow.

    V. Weingart — Current Teacher
    Canfield Local School District, 28 Years
  • It’s been a joy to find or to be found by 90 former students on Facebook! Good memories and satisfaction in having been a part of their educational foundation.

    G. Bunde — Retired 1993
    Wayne Trace Local Schools, 20 Years
  • No rewards were greater for me than seeing the positive impact our Peer Helpers Program (PALS) had at our high school. We initially trained 12 students during two weeks of their summer break to become skilled, caring listeners. That program grew seven years later to include over 100 trained peer helper students and we averaged over 2,700 documented student-initiated contacts per school year. Teens helping teens through caring, skilled listening made a huge positive impact in our high school.

    M. Kedzierski — Retired 2003
    Toledo Public Schools, 36 Years
  • The most rewarding aspects for me is seeing students progress and begin to take responsibility for their achievement! This comes about as a result of my ability to motivate students to do their best and never give up!

    D. Gordon — Retired 2011
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 23 Years
  • My favorite part of the day was the read aloud of a book and the discussion that followed. To hear the students connections to the story or their insight or their personal stories made the teaching day about them, their communication skills and their personalities. …

    D. Demarest — Retired 2013
    Newark City Schools, 25 Years
  • Students that remember what impact I had and inform me as they develop their careers…

    W. Madison — Retired 2001
    Miami University, 18 Years
  • After teaching 35 years I am so proud of former students reminding me of things they learned or activities they did in my class ... It is also great to see many of them giving back to their community. I loved to teach and have former students following my footsteps.

    K. Fliehman — Retired 2009
    East Clinton Local Schools, 35 Years
  • I was a wife and mother of two while teaching. Working in the same school district where the boys attended school was very rewarding. We had the same calendar and I knew many of their friends from my classroom!

    D. Dunbar — Retired 2004
    Northeastern Local Schools, 34 Years
  • I loved teaching for 35 years and tutoring for about 40 years. I love retirement, but do miss the students, thus the reason to continue tutoring. … The most rewarding aspects of teaching are definitely the students and their parents! I have been lucky to have the greatest kids ever who talk to me on the street, stores, etc. Just today, I was walking and a former student was driving by and yelled out to me. …

    J. Tysko — Retired 2011
    Athens City Schools, 35 Years
  • I now see many of my former students either out in the community or through social media. Their success stories with their families, careers, accomplishment and ongoing life experiences are so great to see. Some of my former students are also now friends. I feel wonderful that maybe something from my teaching helped them to be the outstanding adults they have become.

    W. Doyle — Retired 2010
    United Local Schools, 36 Years
  • You don’t realize the impact you made on those young people until they contact you years later and thank you for giving them a good source of income. Most reminisce about the fun they had competing in state skill contests.

    F. Weiss — Retired 2013
    Akron Public Schools, 27 Years
  • To see a former student become a meteorologist on TV, to see one become a teacher, or scientist and change lives is greatly rewarding.

    D. Sodders — Retired 2002
    Greenville City Schools, 30 Years
  • Just recently a student wrote to me and told me that I was the reason she made it through high school without committing suicide! I never knew she was in that much trouble, but I did know that she had tremendous potential and gave her responsibilities that required a lot of her. I have had several messages of appreciation from students over the years. I’ve been retired for 10 years now and I am joyful for every one! It’s wonderful to be told that I’ve made a positive impact on so many lives!

    K. Ohlweiler — Retired 2008
    Winton Woods City Schools, 30 Years
  • Seeing the true goodness in children will carry you through life with a sense of wonder. We can all benefit from thinking like a child.

    D. Contner — Retired 2012
    Little Miami School District, 35 Years
  • Every year, each Medina County school names a top scholar who in turn names a teacher of inspiration. In 2016, I was named the teacher of inspiration by Cloverleaf’s top scholar … He put the exclamation point on my amazing and rewarding 30-year teaching career.

    B. Taylor — Retired 2014
    Cloverleaf Local Schools, 30 Years
  • Having the students say thank you for teaching us. We learned a lot and really had fun doing it.

    M. Beaver — Retired 2005
    Conneaut Area City Schools, 36 Years
  • Gratitude from those we taught [wife was also an educator], some of whom still exchange Christmas cards with us.

    W. Pratt — Retired 1995
    Miami University, 44 Years
  • You get your rewards after your students leave you. Many a time a student that I was hard on or was a challenge has stopped me when out and told me what I had done to make him or her a success. I especially enjoyed molding students that really needed it.

    A. Brewer — Retired 2015
    Columbus City Schools, 37 Years
  • When a teacher sees that light bulb go off in a student’s head that a concept has been understood, that is a great moment. Having students come up to me years later and tell me how much they enjoyed my class is also a great comfort knowing that I made a difference!

    J. Mozina — Retired 2011
    Port Clinton City Schools, 36 Years
  • The most rewarding aspect of being a principal was seeing a student who had been a low achiever/performer turn things around and begin to perform at a higher level. The culminating moment, of course, was to be able to hand them their diploma.

    W. Northrup — Retired 1999
    Worthington City Schools, 10 Years
  • My teaching career was the most rewarding job I have ever had. I was able to work with adult learners who wanted their GED. It didn't matter why they never got to finish school what mattered was their drive, hard work, and determination to have a better life. My stories are many of their frustration, embarrassment, low self-esteem, joys, happiness, and rewards. When my students got their GED I was as excited and happy as they were. What a joy to be part of someone's journey to a better life!

    K. Mobley — Retired 2014
    Defiance College and Bowling Green State University, 20 Years
  • The most rewarding aspect of teaching is being able to observe and watch the bird take flight from the nest. Watching the birds take off and fly and knowing when and if they fall … some power or someone, if not themselves, will assist in helping them get back up again. …

    R. Gillings — Retired 2002
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 20 Years
  • It is very rewarding to meet students years later who thank me for teaching and guiding them to become successful citizens in society.

    D. Mines — Retired 2005
    East Cleveland City Schools, 32 Years
  • I felt grateful to give the student[s] the knowledge to learn the skills and knowledge of illnesses of all systems of growth until death. This information the nursing students will use the rest of their lives as a nurse aide or nurse.

    D. Bowers — Retired 2011
    Rhodes State College, 6 Years
  • I had great relationships with so many of my parents each school year and it was a tremendous blessing to me.

    M. Boatman — Retired 2006
    Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, 30 Years
  • The most rewarding aspect of teaching for me was having a student to tell me that they enjoyed being one of my students and that I taught them something.

    C. Reynolds — Retired 1993
    Warrensville Heights City Schools, 37 Years
  • … It is wonderful sharing their life experiences. When one has a group of children for 9 months of a year and watches them progress through the grades, it feels much like they are part of a large family. I love seeing the photos and hearing about their lives as adults. What a joy!

    S. Gallagher — Retired 1994
    Princeton City Schools, 34 Years
  • Yesterday I subbed again, this time in second grade. The children in the classroom and on the playground were delightful. You never know what gem a child will say! I sub for the mentally and physically challenged. I am 80 and lucky to have lots of energy! Teaching is a pleasant escape … the profession that keeps on giving and giving.

    R. Bouldin — Retired 2001
    Columbus City Schools, 32 Years
  • Students traveling cross country stop in Ohio to visit me. Many have said they went into science because of my science classes. Parents still thank me for teaching their children. Former students still talk about their science experiences with smiles on their faces. One student told her mother, “I don't have to study for my geology final at OSU because I had Earth Science with Ms. Baron. I already know everything.”

    I. Baron — Retired 2006
    Newark City, Zanesville City and West Muskingum Local Schools, 43 Years
  • I retired from teaching in Ohio in 2000 after 34 years and I came to Florida to enjoy retirement. That did not happen. I soon began teaching again in an advanced kindergarten program. I love helping these young [children] learn and excel. I have tremendous support from parents and have many success stories over the years. My heart is in teaching. This is a picture of me in my [current] classroom at Venice Christian School.

    M. Koch — Retired 2000
    Westfall Local, Circleville City, Napoleon Area, Logan Elm Local and Teays Valley Local Schools, 31 Years
  • Kids always. All the grown-ups got in the way.

    K. Wujcik — Retired 2012
    Newton Falls Exempted Village, Bristol Local and Alliance City Schools, 35 Years
  • Seeing a young person discover he or she can learn and/or can master a skill is the most rewarding aspect of teaching ... I was teaching more than 40 fifth graders in a church school a little more than a year after high school graduation. …

    G. Eshelman — Retired 1995
    Canton, North Canton and Massillon City Schools and University of Akron, 31 Years

A favorite teaching memory

  • I had a young man in my classroom that no one could handle. I prayed with him outside the classroom. I didn’t give up. He began to come to school on time and would sit in his seat. He told me that he realized that I was interested in all the kids and cared for them. He became very interested with school. You have to let kids know that you love them.

    J. Bartley — Retired 1982
    Pike County Schools (Kentucky) and Columbus Public Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I loved to decorate my room.

    E. Warffuel-Clark — Retired 1978
    Hudson City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools and Braceville Township Schools, 38 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • J. Bartley is my mother-in-law … When I came to Columbus in 1970, I taught across the hall from her … I saw her in action. She was a super teacher. She loved her students and they loved her.

    M.K. Bartley — Retired 2003
    Columbus Public Schools, 35 Years
  • Students coming back to visit.

    A. Smith — Retired 2005
    Massillon City Schools, 32 Years
  • Favorite memory was when a student who was nonverbal said more to continue a story.

    V. Grear — Current Teacher
    Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, 24 Years
  • There are too many to name just one, but being recognized by a prior third grade student as a senior was probably one of my favorites of all! It was an honor to be remembered nine years later as fair, kind, and inspiring to a student in the top of their graduating class!

    T. Imhoff — Retired 2014
    Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, 22 Years
  • Instructing an outstanding student not to major in aeronautical engineering because at the time the industry was all but dead during the 1970s. A few years ago ... the student became the CEO of The Aerospace Corporation. I stopped trying to direct students into a “life career.”

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • My business was educating kids. That is why I planned five days a week for 30 years, 150 students daily. It was my life. Now, I have several part-time jobs, but my most important is that of Funeral Director Assistant. It is here, where “my kids” come as adults, during a hard time in their lives. But, we reminisce about those school days and laugh a lot. I feel so good when a father introduces his children to me and says to them, “This was the best teacher I ever had!” My 30 years paid off.

    K. Schweitzer — Retired 2001
    Port Clinton City Schools, 30 Years
  • I had a flight student at OSU who was coming in too fast for a landing. He turned to me as his instructor looking for me to take the controls and help him out. He said, “You’ve got it.” And I said, “No. You’ve got it.” He figured it out and would later say that I must have “nerves of steel” for the way I handled that.

    R. Larson — Retired 1979
    The Ohio State University, 7 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I met my future husband through a student I had. He kept saying “You have to meet my big brother!” (Who was in the Army.) I paid no attention until I SAW the handsome “big brother” who looked like Clark Gable at a school carnival. It was love at first sight. After a four-year correspondence by letters, we were married when World War II was over and he came home. We were very happily married for 62 years!

    D. Smith — Retired 1978
    Springfield Local Schools, Mansfield City Schools, 30 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I am happy with my teaching memories and have a stone with my name on it at the teachers building in Columbus, near the walkway into the building. [STRS Ohio Discovery Park]

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Photo of E. Follett.

    I particularly remember helping one of my athletically gifted students (a star member of the football team but not a star scholar) successfully read a complete book on his own for the first time. That was thrilling!

    Also, I gratefully remember receiving words of appreciation from former students ... One of them became a Fulbright Scholar!

    I also remember having a lot of fun being the school’s Ski Club Advisor despite not knowing how to ski. The students were very impressed with my willingness to learn at age 60! …

    E. Follett — Retired 1979
    Kettering Public Schools, 14 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • After the first week, I was ready to turn around and leave. I said, “What have I gotten into?” Of course, that quickly wore off and I loved my 20 years of teaching.

    G. Yeager — Retired 1983
    Toledo Public Schools, Alliance City Schools, Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • … About the last 10 years of my teaching career, Orville had three art teachers and I had 9-12 only. And that was my preference. People tugging their grandkids now accost me on the street — “Oh, you were my art teacher!”

    M. Roush — Retired 1983
    Orville City Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I certainly remember my first day. I was 18 years old (soon to be 19). I faced a room of 30-40 children (first and second grade) and thought “I can do this. I have a certificate that says I can.”

    T. Lewis — Retired 1983
    Shawnee Local Schools, Barberton City Schools, Mt. Gilead Exempted Village Schools, and Summit County (West Franklin) Schools, 35 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • ... being asked to hand one of my student athletes her diploma. She touched my heart from day one and I think just maybe I have made a mark on her life. I not only created a respect with her, but I influenced her to have more confidence and be herself. ... Honored to stay a part of her life.

    K. Remy — Current Teacher
    New Albany Plain Local Schools, 25 Years
  • Helping my students become people and learning something new each day from them.

    J. Hilderbrand — Current Teacher
    Ohio Valley Local School District and Northwest Local Schools, 9 Years
  • Photo of A. Kiene and her student.

    I had a student with a job interview sprung on her ... I gave her the professional attire that I was wearing. She wore my clothes and shoes to her interview. I taught barefoot and in mismatched clothes I had in my car the rest of the day. She got the job and still has it three years later! Above is a photo of my former student and myself at her job!

    A. Kiene — Current Teacher
    Bluffton Exempted Village School District, 3 Years
  • One of my favorite memories as a teacher was being chosen as an honored educator for a graduating senior. Usually the high school teachers are chosen. Being chosen as her third-grade teacher was such an honor. Listening to what she learned from me and still carries with her was so uplifting and affirming.

    C. Bowser — Current Teacher
    Marlington Local Schools, 25 Years
  • ... As teachers know, students teach teachers. ... a kindergarten student taught me what "boo boo cream" is as well as where the cream, band-aids are, where the injury is, what color she must have and how to apply to the “injury.” ...

    K. Huffman — Current Teacher
    ESC Council of Governments, Fairbanks Local Schools, 4 Years
  • ... I had to go out of town to teach because at that time my sister was teaching in our home town and they only allowed one person from a family to work in the district. I was not hired until the first day of school! ... I had to quit teaching in 1940 because I got married. At that time, married women were not allowed to teach. After raising my family (two daughters who also became teachers) I returned to teaching … They now permitted married women to teach and more than one person from a family to teach in the district. ...

    N. Amidon — Retired 1978
    Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, Conneaut (Ashtabula Area Schools), 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Being a physical education teacher, I enjoyed the sports activities and hearing various stories from students.

    A. Spillman — Retired 1979
    Roseville Area and Zanesville Schools, 8 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • A graduating senior came up to me on the last day of class and shook my hand, saying “Thanks, I would not have graduated without you.”

    R. Murray — Retired 2012
    Celina City Schools, 5 Years
  • Being the Head football coach of a 10–0 team and winning a conference championship. This past August I was able to reconnect with my high school football coach after 50 years. It was a wonderful experience for both of us … he taught in the Toledo Public Schools. He is a member of STRS!

    R. Boynton — Retired 2008
    Amherst Exempted Village Schools, 35 Years
  • Career Education teachers are more than content teachers. They have the chance to educate students with the career skills they need to be successful. But they also have the chance to teach students the life skills they also need. These teachers become closer to the students because of the time they have with them each day — sometimes 2–3 hours a day. My memories involve becoming their “Mom” as well as their teacher!

    P. Oldham — Retired 2010
    Miami Valley Career Technology Center, 36 Years
  • My most memorable experience was the day in May when I delivered the baby girl of one of our students!

    B. Gettles — Retired 1999
    Gallia County Local School District, 28 Years
  • When former students have come up to me and tell me that I inspired them to become a teacher.

    B. Clark — Retired 1992
    Ottawa–Glandorf Local Schools, Elida Local Schools, 45 Years
  • Of all of the student evaluations that I received, one stands out because it was the funniest that I ever got. A student wrote “I came into this class stupid, and I am leaving less stupid.” Obviously I had succeeded as a teacher!

    P. Washburn — Retired 2012
    Ohio University, 28 Years
  • The year I retired a group of five graduating high school seniors, most at the top of their class, prepared a photo album for me. I had been their 6th grade teacher and introduced them to drama that year as part of our class work. They continued after school with me following 6th grade through some high school, putting on plays in our small district and community. That album had some photos of those plays, but also had letters each had written to me personally. That’s worth everything!

    M. Spear — Retired 2008
    Waterloo Schools, 35 Years
  • I was called down to the office just prior to Christmas break one year to take an emergency phone call. It was a past graduate from my program calling from Afghanistan. It was his one call home for Christmas and he wanted to tell me thanks for the training he had received. It led to a really great job in the military. …

    F. Weiss — Retired 2013
    Akron Public Schools, 27 Years
  • I remember so vividly, coming into my classroom after a three-day absence due to an accident I had on the last “snow day” of my career. I had a broken arm and was supposed to be teaching students to throw clay on the potter’s wheel. My advanced students, that I had for many classes, jumped right in and took over the demonstrations for me. They helped the less experienced students with techniques I had taught them and got me through that challenging time. I was so grateful and proud of them.

    K. Davis — Retired 2013
    Southwest Licking Local Schools, 25 Years
  • A student once proudly told me that his father had been deer hunting and had the deer’s head laminated to hang on the wall!

    D. Contner — Retired 2012
    Little Miami School District, 35 Years
  • … I’m Facebook friends with some of my first students going back 45 years. … one of my students became a professional football player and when inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, sent me an invitation to attend. My wife and I had a wonderful time at this spectacular national event.

    C. Knepshield — Retired 2006
    Middletown City Schools, 31 Years
  • At the end of another school year, we were cleaning out the shop when one of my seniors stated he would visit next year. I replied, “Assuming I am still here, good.” He had been one of my project students, one that I thought I was going to lose. With a surprised look on his face he said, “What do you mean, IF you are here?” I said, “Well, I’m not welded to this place, you know.” His response stunned me. “But, if you leave, who will be there for kids like me?” [This is] the reason we teach.

    D. Fryman — Retired 2016
    Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, 27 Years
  • …[A] shy girl getting a STANDING OVATION by the whole class, for getting an “A” on the final exam! Shy, but a real fighter! Several students who hated me in class — stretching one’s mind can be painful — became career-long colleagues in the teaching profession, stayed in contact after graduation, and never missed any programs I held. …

    N. Blankenship — Retired 1992
    Kent State University, 30 Years
  • My favorite compliment from a student was the back handed one to the effect that a course I gave on library-based research methods was “boring, like anything else at this place, but I could never have done my graduate work without it.” One does try to amuse, sometimes too hard, but it is having been useful that is the real reward!

    L. Hallewell — Retired 1998
    The Ohio State University, 5 Years
  • When a little boy came into second grade and told me he couldn’t read. [The book] A Nightmare in the Closet got him excited. He couldn’t get his hands on enough books. By the end of second grade he was reading at a 4.5 grade reading level.

    M. Beaver — Retired 2005
    Conneaut Area City Schools, 36 Years
  • A vivid memory from a fellow teacher in the faculty room [saying], “Why are you taking a computer class? Computers will never be in the classrooms and won’t replace teachers.”

    G. Ross — Retired 2012
    West Carrollton City School District, two schools in Pennsylvania, 30 Years
  • After a long day of teaching junior high reading, a former student I barely recognized, shocked me by coming up to me and telling me that I was the reason she became a reading teacher. She said that she didn't like to read very much, but when she had me, I made reading so interesting and enjoyable that she now loves to read and became a reading teacher herself.

    M. Sander — Retired 2011
    Berne Union Local Schools, 30 Years
  • The thrill of sharing the literature we love [wife was also an educator] with those who appreciated it.

    W. Pratt — Retired 1995
    Miami University, 44 Years
  • Last year I walked into my college class to give a final exam and two extra people were in the front row. Both looked familiar. The man … had been my sixth-grade student from many years ago and back from Afghanistan. The other familiar face was his wife who had been a high school student of mine and their son was a current student in that college class. They brought me a gift and flowers.

    N. Johnson — Current Teacher
    University of Cincinnati, 37 Years
  • Most favorite memories are my basketball players when we made it to the state tournament. Coaching them was so rewarding. They gave it their all.

    C. Smith — Retired 1999
    Columbus Public Schools, 30 Years
  • At the end of the quarter, there was a handwritten note from a student … left on my office door. The note expressed appreciation for the class and for believing in her abilities, etc. Throughout her life, she was told by her family that she could not make it in college. She said I made a difference in her life.

    R. Corgan — Retired 2013
    University of Cincinnati, 33 Years
  • … One of my fondest goes back to one of my trips with students to France. We were in Nice … when I heard over the loud speaker one of my students being questioned in French by a local radio station on location and this student was answering their questions in French, and doing so correctly!

    J. Mozina — Retired 2011
    Port Clinton City Schools, 36 Years
  • I received a call from a graduate nurse who was working in the hospital for two years. She said she was with a patient who was dying and his family. Her feedback to me was that what I had taught her about this type of situation [while studying nursing] was coming back to her. She then said, “I want you to know that part of you lives on in me.” This is one of the highest compliments a teacher could receive.

    R. Kaminsky — Retired 2006
    Lorain County Community College, 22 Years
  • After my final concert, many of my former students surprised me at our community park for a reception. They lined up around the building, by graduating class, with signs and banners of the marching band competition show from their senior year. It started with the class of 1991 and ended with the current senior class of 2019. It was such a joy to be able to teach so many outstanding students, but then for them to return and honor me was something that I will never forget.

    J. Breitigam — Retired 2019
    Arcadia Local Schools, 32 Years
  • I took pictures of students working in the community and placed them in a photo album to help classmates to read and write about their classmates which motivated them to want to read, write and work like their peers.

    D. Wise — Retired 2008
    Akron Public Schools, 50 Years
  • … Books opened an entire world for many of my economically disadvantaged students. They gained life experience, vocabulary, problem solving, and critical thinking skills by living vicariously through the hundreds of book characters I brought to my classroom every day. Priceless.

    D. Hoover — Retired 2015
    Bucyrus City Schools/Ashland University, 30 Years
  • It was graduation time and a student from a poor and struggling family that I really liked did not plan to attend the ceremony because he would be embarrassed by not having any dress clothes to wear. When I offered to “find” him some clothes, he said he would attend. At the ceremony, his family beamed with pride as he walked across the stage. Afterwards, his mom told me that it was the proudest moment of her life. After that, I had a hard time seeing her because my eyes were kind of blurry.

    C. Clements — Retired 2017
    Dayton, Mad River, Fairborn, Anna and Southwestern Schools, 43 Years
  • One of my students was having a difficult home life so I asked him to stay with me and my son. Those three years were extremely rewarding for all of us and he still calls me mom.

    M. Neumann — Retired 1980
    Canton City Schools, 15 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I took groups of 25 high school students to the Forfar Research Station in the Bahamas for 20 years to study Marine Insular Biology. Parents tell me their family conversations years later still include those experiences.

    I. Baron — Retired 2006
    Newark City, Zanesville City and West Muskingum Local Schools, 43 Years
  • Seeing the fruits years later of the seeds I planted.

    S. Seagrave — Retired 2002
    Liberty Center Local Schools, 30 Years
  • One of my favorite memories is on a trip to Spain how excited the students were to discover that the language they'd been learning and using in the classroom actually worked to communicate with the local people. They were excited to be using what they'd learned. Watching them learn about this other culture and people first hand was very rewarding.

    N. Moffitt — Retired 2005
    East Muskingum Local Schools, 30 Years
  • Watching terrified students become proficient at public speaking.

    K. Carothers — Retired 1996
    Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, 22 Years

Other comments

  • After I retired from teaching at the age of 58, I got married for the first time in 1974 to Karl Kuhn, an old friend. Eventually he convinced me to get my pilot’s license to be able to fly his small plane. I also got my Instrument Rating and flew until I was 93, logging over 2,700 hours.

    H.M. Kuhn — Retired 1972
    Forest Hills & North College Hill Public Schools, 20 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Photo of M. Venook and her children on her 100th birthday.

    Thank you to STRS for continuing to give checks to us centenarians. I don't imagine STRS ever thought their retired teachers would live so long!

    This is a photo at my 100th birthday with two of my children who are also retired teachers from Columbus City Schools. Obviously, we all appreciate STRS!

    M. Venook — Retired 1980
    Columbus Public Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Photo of W. Hoke.

    Note: Mr. Hoke passed away right before he had an opportunity to submit his “Share Your Story” submission to STRS Ohio. Below are thoughts shared by his son on his behalf.

    Impact of STRS Ohio on retirement: The primary benefit [from STRS Ohio] has been health care.

    Reason he became a teacher: He had just returned from India and the local principal called him and said I have a job for a person with a lot of patience. His career was as a pastor, missionary, administrator and educator. His missionary service and administrative work took him to locations including Behar, India and New Delhi, India.

    As an educator he served at Upland College in Upland, California; Newton School in Pleasant Hill, Ohio; and at Allahabad Bible Seminary in Allahabad, India.

    Memories of first classroom: Newton [School] at that time was a K-12 school. His classroom was on the first floor of a three-story building.

    W. Hoke — Retired 1977
    Newton Local Schools, 7 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Framed note from a student, stating 'I like you alot. I like when you read to us.'.

    I am 80 years old and have always had the little framed note on my shelf. I was the middle school librarian and read to the children. I have cherished this anonymous tribute from a listener for almost 40 years.

    E. McWilliams — Retired 1987
    Wickliffe, 3 Years
  • A young lady asked, “Do you remember Jack Jones?” I thought for a moment and responded. “Yes. He was one of my first students.” She responded, “He talks about you all the time.” I asked, “Is that your father?” She answered, “No. It’s my grandfather.”

    P. Sites — Retired 2000
    Jackson City Schools & Wellston City Schools,
    54 Years
  • A number of my students that I taught are now airline pilots. It does make me sad that so many pilots I trained ended up in World War II and lost their lives.

    R. Larson — Retired 1979
    The Ohio State University, 7 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I began my schooling at age 6 in a brick school in Brookside, Ohio. The school is now demolished. Our desks were nailed to the floor and had an inkwell in the corner of the desk lid. … We were taught to memorize by each child taking his turn to repeat poetry in our reading books. … They also rang a large bell hanging in the roof top to show class time or not be tardy.

    R. Mitchell — Retired 1984
    Martins Ferry City Schools, Bridgeport Exempted School District, 17 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I graduated from Ohio University in 1940 as we were surfacing from the Big Depression and facing World War II. Art was a frill — few [teaching] jobs open there. I lucked into an office job … After three years, I took a flier and applied at Firestone Tire and Rubber in Akron. I picked up a passenger at Doylestown every day.

    When the state board of education mandated art in every school in the mid-fifties, openings for art teachers occurred ... My Akron passenger ... went to a July 4th weekend church conference … happened to sit by a school superintendent. My friend casually asked this stranger how he was doing. He answered “… I have all my teachers for the district in place except for an art teacher. ... I made an appointment for an interview. After a week’s consideration, I made the commitment.

    M. Roush — Retired 1983
    Orville City Schools, 25 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Photo of V. Weingart and her student.

    I visited a former student who is now an animal trainer in Florida. He told me to stop at the entrance when I arrived and give them my name. The employees lit up as they loudly announced my arrival to each other and welcomed me as if I was a celebrity! My student had told them I was his favorite teacher and he wanted them to roll out the red carpet for me, which they surely did!

    V. Weingart — Current Teacher
    Canfield Local School District, 28 Years
  • Photo of N. Amidon. N. Amidon — Retired 1978
    Newton Falls Exempted Village Schools, Conneaut (Ashtabula Area Schools), 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • I love when former students come to visit and tell me all they are doing. I have been invited to weddings, baby showers, and other events form former students and it makes me feel [that] what I did made a difference. ...

    C. Bowser — Current Teacher
    Marlington Local Schools, 25 Years
  • It was such a very pleasant surprise, when Googling my name, to find tributes from former students.

    M. Halvorsen — Retired 1961
    University of Cincinnati, 20 Years
  • When my parents moved me from the suburbs to the country at the age of 14, I was very upset. I learned to love the rural school I went to and returned as a teacher and principal. Although it has grown and changed dramatically, I will always cherish my 35 years at Little Miami Schools, meeting and watching multiple generations of families pass through. Grateful.

    D. Contner — Retired 2012
    Little Miami School District, 35 Years
  • A fellow teacher gave me a poster I proudly put on my desk: “The Best Thing About My Classroom Is the People I Share It With.”

    M. Burns — Retired 2014
    Cleveland Metropolitan School District, 28 Years
  • Photo of R. Corgan.

    One of my proud moments was when I [pictured on right] was chosen for the "Distinguished Services Award" by the Ohio Business Teachers Association in 2008. Special appreciation to Dr. Vicki Hammer, my department chair, and Dr. Ken Martin, my college advisor.

    R. Corgan — Retired 2013
    University of Cincinnati, 33 Years
  • Since I have retired, my husband and I moved to Venice, Fla., and he is now a school bus driver for special needs students and I am his bus attendant. What a joy it is to still be involved with the students and to work with my husband daily. It has been most rewarding for us both and a great job for us to have. Thanks to all STRS folks, whether they are still teaching or retired! God bless!!

    M. Boatman — Retired 2006
    Highland County Board of Developmental Disabilities, 30 Years
  • Photo of J. Breitigam and his students in the marching band.

    Me with my final group of marching band seniors, the Marching Redskins Class of 2019.

    J. Breitigam — Retired 2019
    Arcadia Local Schools, 32 Years
  • I have retired in Arizona. I am pleased that many former students make an effort to visit me when in the area and tell me stories of our time together … the tough things I did with them and how those things are still with them.

    C. Reynolds — Retired 1993
    Warrensville Heights City Schools, 37 Years
  • While I retired after 35 years I have continued working as a sub. All totaled I am in my 50th year of working with young people. Last year I subbed 156 days. I still enjoy working with these young people.

    S. Steffes — Retired 2005
    Edon Northwest Local Schools, 35 Years
  • I feel fulfilled because I have motivated children to be successful in their life.

    D. Wise — Retired 2008
    Akron Public Schools, 50 Years
  • Photo of D. Hoover reading to her first grade students.

    …[T]his photo is of me reading to a very engaged group of first graders … My students once told me, after asking if the substitute the previous day had read our next chapter of Charlotte’s Web, “She did read it, but she didn’t do the voices. So can you please read it again?” Until then, I hadn’t really known that I “did the voices.” …

    D. Hoover — Retired 2015
    Bucyrus City Schools/Ashland University, 30 Years
  • Photo of I. Baron.

    [I] was named Ohio's ATT Technology Teacher of the Year and Governor's Fellow in 1994 and spent a week at the ATT Research Facility in New York.

    I. Baron — Retired 2006
    Newark City, Zanesville City and West Muskingum Local Schools, 43 Years
  • In 1934 after completing high school, I went to Bowling Green College for one year. I then took the teacher’s exam and began teaching in a one room schoolhouse. There were 13 to 14 students in classes that ranged from first grade to eighth grade. The students usually walked to school because the schools were two miles apart in the county…The small rural schools consolidated and I went to teach at a school about 15 miles away…I taught about 32 to 39 students in a first grade class…I had to room and board during the school year and went home on weekends. I then needed to retire because married teachers were not permitted to teach at this time. About 15 years later I went back to teaching…

    L. Short — Retired 1981
    German Township and Archbald Local Schools, 31 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Photo of S. Seagrave.

    This is me the first year as principal at Liberty Center Elementary in 2007. I had retired, but then this position came open in the district where much of my family is located. So, I “unretired” and worked another 6 years until final retirement at age 66.

    S. Seagrave — Retired 2002
    Liberty Center Local Schools, 30 Years
  • A teacher passes encouragement to his students through the love and caring of the students. … My father and mother encouraged 10 siblings. The oldest twins, another sister, and a brother and I retired from teaching. I am the only one living … We all started with a two-year cadet certificate and served 170 years. Thank you STRS for supporting each of us.

    M. Theiss — Retired 1986
    Milford Exempted Village, Pymatuning Valley Local and Princeton Local Schools, 32 Years
  • Photo of F. Ritz.

    Note: The highlights below of Frances Jean Ritz’s life and career were provided by her daughter.

    Frances loved being a teacher. During her last position as Chairman of the Business Education Department and head of the Cooperative Office Education (COE) program at Boardman School in Boardman, Ohio, she personally secured 700 jobs for her students as paid interns … Choose success, she told them, and she never let them fail. … In 2018 she was honored by Youngstown State University … with the “Lifetime Educational Service Award.” [See photo above.] ... She was widowed early, but kept teaching until her retirement at age 74. …

    F. Ritz — Retired 1991
    Boardman Local Schools, Youngstown State University, 44 Years
    STRS Ohio Centenarian Member
  • Note: STRS Ohio member M. Montag provided the information below about her daughter, M.D. Montag (1975-2012), who was a teacher in Huber Heights City Schools.

    My daughter helped students to feel accepted and to use their talents to succeed despite any adversities they faced. At one memorial service, a student stood up and told us that he could not read, but that Miss Montag had helped and worked with him. After her sudden death, two busloads of her students traveled to the funeral home, 100 miles, to pay respects to her. In the words of one of her students, “You were an inspiration, I’m going to miss you and your memories are fond in me.”

    M. Montag — Retired 2009
    Lancaster City Schools, 35 Years
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