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Employees bid farewell to Brookings School District

Posted: Monday, May 18th, 2009

Twelve employees within the Brookings School District announced their plans to retire at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

Those employees include Barb Goodfellow, Kelby Fode and Joyce McDaniel from Brookings High School; Darrylin Hogie from Hillcrest Elementary; Vi Harris, Nancy Fixen and Mary Jo Coplan from Medary Elementary; Lynette Kerlin and Nancy Fredrikson from Central Elementary; Fran Schoenfelder, director of East Central Multi-District ; Dianne Kludt from SElect High; and Alice Fredrickson from Mickelson Middle School.

Each retiring employee has his or her own memories from working in Brookings. Altogether, the 12 retiring are taking with them more than 300 years of experience working in schools and with school-aged children. Barb Goodfellow

Goodfellow, library media specialist and student council adviser at Brookings High School, began teaching 39 years ago.

She got her library science /counseling degree from South Dakota State University and before coming to Brookings taught in Estelline for 21 years.

In Estelline, Goodfellow taught psychology and sociology and served as a school counselor and cheerleading and yearbook adviser.

Goodfellow came to Brookings in 1991 and has been working within the district for the past 18 years.

Goodfellow said she became a teacher because she loves people and working with children. "The best part has been the opportunity I had to be influenced by all of the students and staff I worked with."

Goodfellow said she wants to keep busy and keep working around people. Kelby Fode

Fode is the vocal music director at Brookings High School. He got his start teaching in 1973 after he finished school at Huron College.

Fode says it was his high school choir director who first influenced him to want to become a teacher.

"Something about him just clicked with me, and he told me he thought I would make a fine teacher." Fode taught in Lake Preston and Wessington Springs, in Huron for 20 years and in Brookings for the past 13.

Fode said the best part of his job was the creative process it allowed. "There something about starting something, like a piece of music, that really is nothing more than notes on paper, and in the end, having it turn into a beautiful piece of music that is wonderful to listen to."

Fode said during retirement, he wants to relax, travel and spend time with his grandchildren. Joyce McDaniel

BHS's Spanish teacher, McDaniel, is retiring after 35 years of service, all in Brookings.

McDaniel got her teaching degree at South Dakota State University. She said the reason she chose teaching is because it is the only "cheap, legal way to keep going to school."

McDaniel added that her favorite day of the year continues to be the day she buys school sup- plies for the year. Her family also has a long line of "preachers and teachers."

McDaniel said the best part of her job has been making a difference in students' lives.

In retirement , she plans to enjoy her free time, travel some Joyce McDaniel and just relax. She also hopes to start a second career, possibly translating .

"It will be nice to take road trips, or watch games without having to correct papers," she said. "Teaching is an all-consuming job, and I intend to enjoy some of that personal time." Darrylin Hogie got her start as a teacher in 1985. She obtained her education at Northern State University Darrylin Hogie in Aberdeen. She is now a fourth-grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School and has done some substitute work in Aberdeen.

Hogie said she decided to become a teacher because it's what she always wanted to do.

"I love kids and grew up in Aberdeen, close to the teachers' college. I think this has been one of the best careers I could have had."

Hogie said the best part of the job has been getting to know the kids and her coworkers .

"I like seeing light bulbs go off when you know you have reached your students," she said. "You are always hoping you made a difference for someone."

Hogie said she stuck with Brookings because she loves Hillcrest. Her future plans include a trip to Alaska in August with her husband, then getting involved with volunteer work. Nancy Fixen Fixen, a fifth-grade teacher at Medary Elementary, grew up in Rapid City and graduated from Northern State University in 1973.

She taught on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in Mitchell and Sioux Valley Schools, and in Colorado and Wisconsin before moving to Brookings.

In January 1986, she was hired to finish the year for another Brookings teacher.

Since then, Fixen briefly taught kindergarten and thirdgraders , and this is her 14th year of teaching fifth grade. She said she first got into teaching because she loves working with children. Fixen is responsible for bringing fifthgraders together with residents at the United Retirement Center for monthly visits.

She looks forward to traveling with her husband, Paul, and "taking it easy." Vi Harris

Harris first got her start teaching in 1969 after finishing college at Dickinson State College in North Dakota.

Harris started teaching in Brookings in 1990. Before that, she served a school district in Montana for 10 years as a third-grade teacher.

Here, Harris served the district as a special education teaching assistant at Medary Elementary.

She said she decided to be a teacher because she loves working with small children. "My favorite memory of teaching is when the children we work with are struggling so hard, and then, all of the sudden , it just clicks and they are doing great."

Harris' retirement plans include working part-time , doing more reading and catchup work on her photo albums. Mary Jo Coplan

Coplan started full-time at Medary Elementary as the school's secretary in 1989. Before that, she was a medical secretary and a homemaker . She has a medical secretary degree from Watertown Mary Jo Coplan Business College.

Coplan said she decided to accept and stick with this job because she had substituted the year before, and when the former secretary retired, she stepped in because she enjoys the work.

Coplan said the best part of her job has been getting to know the students and watching them grow and change through the years.

During her time at Medary, Coplan has been involved with PTA and Girl Scouts.

Coplan's retirement plans include an eventual move to Sioux Falls, closer to her grandchildren. Lynette Kerlin

Central Elementary firstgrade teacher Kerlin got her start teach-. Before Central, she served the Deubrook Area School District as a first-grade teacher and also taught Lynette Kerlin at Tiny Tot Daycare Center in Brookings. She was a Head Start teacher and taught firstand second-graders in the local non-graded program.

The past 27 years of her career were spent teaching first grade at Central.

Kerlin said she decided to become a teacher because of her mother. "She was an excellent example of a promoter of education. My mother has inspired me to be a lifelong learner."

Kerlin said that it is heartwarming to see children get excited when they learn how to do new things. She said a major passion of hers is teaching children how to creatively read and write.

Kerlin's retirement plans include spending more time with family, writing more, taking a mission trip to an orphanage and working in a museum. Nancy Fredrikson

Fredrikson, a teacher's assistant in the special needs preschool at Central Elementary, got her start in the business 32 years ago in Windom, Nancy Minn. Fredrikson There, she spent 13 years as a teaching assistant in special education, then moved to Brookings in 1991.

Fredrikson said she started this career because she likes kids, but she actually studied in a completely different field.

"I just like to watch kids grow and learn," Fredrikson said. "My certificate is actually in hairstyling, but I like children and wanted work in a school system."

Over the years, Fredrikson has been heavily involved with her church, has helped with Special Olympics and has dedicated most of her spare time to the children in her life.

Fredrikson said she has no plans for retirement, other than to continue with her involvement at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Brookings. Dianne Kludt

Kludt, SElect High's math teacher, said she first came to Brookings looking for a change. Previously, she taught in Granite Falls, Minn. She also taught sixth-graders in Dell Rapids and served districts in Redfield and Wessington Springs.

Kludt got her start teaching in Brookings in 1996.

"Seeing the kids Dianne Kludt that are at risk be successful is what keeps me going," she said.

Kludt served SElect as a math, geography and government teacher during the 13 years she has been employed there. She also became the school's go-to person for computer repair.

In retirement, Kludt said she has no for-sure plans. She has a passion for gardening and cooking, and plans to do some tutoring and traveling. Fran Schoenfelder

Schoenfelder has been the director of the East Central Multi-District since 1984. Prior to that, he was a business teacher, a wrestling coach and an administrator at the South Dakota Training School in Plankinton for 18 years. He also taught business Fran and Schoenfelder coached for three years in Salem.

Schoenfelder got his education at Southern State Teacher's College in Springfield. He is originally from Ethan, and has four things in his heart, according to his daughter. Those are family, friends, fishing and education .

Schoenfelder has a deep passion for career and technical education programs and has dedicated his time, energy and enthusiasm toward helping students and staff members at ECMD learn and grow.

His retirement plans include traveling and spending time with his family and grandchildren . Alice Fredrickson

Fredrickson started serving Mickelson Middle School in 1988 - literally . She went to work in the food service department . She got her start Alice in educa- Fredrickson tion in 1943 as a country school teacher for four years.

Fredrickson later tutored a special education child, and after that came to Mickelson.

She said she likes everything about her job, and that she likes young people and working with "the little folks."

"My job is fine; I have no complaints at all. This school has been good to me, and I do my best for them."

Fredrickson's retirement plans include spending more time with family and relaxing . Also, during the summer she grows flowers and loves to read.

Contact Amanda Palluck at apalluck@brookingsregister.com.

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