Big year for retiring at Blaine schools

By Oliver Lazenby

June 23 isn’t just the last day of school for Blaine school district students; it’s also the last day for a big class of retiring district staff.

So far, district human resources supervisor Christine Anderson knows of seven district staff members who plan to make this year their last. Five are teachers or have teaching certificates and two are support staff.

“This is a big year for retiring,” she said.

In 2016, only one teacher and three staff members total retired. The year before that six people retired but only two teachers.

The retiring staff members are:

Carey Bacon, middle school and high school librarian and coach (30 years with the district).

John Andy Harmening, middle school and high school choral teacher (28 years).

Muriel Ridnour, high school special education teacher (28 years).

John Selinger, district school psychologist (21 years).

Kathy Swindler, 5th grade teacher (35 years).

Nancy DePauw, high school paraprofessional educator (31 years).

Maria Slack, high school paraprofessional educator (17 years).

Combined, the outgoing staff members spent a total of 190 years with the district.

“They are just amazing people. They have devoted their lives to the children in our community,” Anderson said. “We can’t thank them enough.”

Hiring could be a challenge for the district. Some of the outgoing positions are in especially high demand and may require creativity to fill, Anderson said.

The stock market may be a factor in the wave of retirements. Retirement accounts dwindled during the recession, and the stock market didn’t reach pre-recession highs until 2013. Since then, it has gone steadily up.

“People stopped retiring in 2008. They really did,” Anderson said. “Finally we had a couple good years and now they’re saying, ‘OK, I’ve not only got it back but I’ve added it.’ That’s my theory on why
people are retiring.”

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