by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday recognized district staff who will retire this June.
The list of 2011 retirees includes John Stewart teacher Jan Gramley (16 years of service), Blackberry Creek teacher Susan Hasenauer (22 years), John Stewart teacher Nancy Hensley (19 years), Fox Valley Career Center Director Larry Imel (9 years), Blackberry Creek Principal Kyle Kuhns (28 years), Harter Middle School teacher Linda Lanthrum (20 years), John Shields teacher Sherene Lyon (11 years), Blackberry Creek teacher Lynda McGowen (25 years), John Stewart art specialist Bonnie Whildin (25.5 years), Kaneland High School teacher Joe Thorgesen (33 years), Kaneland High School teacher Doug Ecker (25 years), Harter Middle School Psychologist Deb Vensel (18 years), John Stewart reading specialist Jenny Wagner (15 years), John Shields teacher Candy Soper (19 years) and John Shields teacher Karen Springer (7 years).
“We are blessed to have worked with such a committed and passionate group of educators,” Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said. “The group of retirees collectively have taught for almost 300 years. They have touched a lot of lives, and for that we owe them a great deal.”
Each retiree spoke briefly upon receiving their plaque from the board and expressed what it meant to teach in the Kaneland School District.
Gramley, whose husband, Elmer, is vice president of the board, also said she looked forward to having regular conversations with her husband.
“When people say, ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ (I tell them) Elmer and I are going to have many wonderful dinners where we don’t say, ‘We can’t talk about that,’” she said.
Kuhns said he appreciated everything Kaneland had provided him while he served as a special education teacher, fourth-grade teacher, librarian and then principal at Blackberry Creek. He also quickly drew laughs from those in attendance by poking fun at his own age.
“It’s been a lot of years, and in my advanced age, if I could remember most of them, I’m sure I would have wonderful thoughts,” Kuhns said.
Schuler said the appreciation expressed by each retiree was indicative of the quality of the Kaneland School District community and staff.
“That says a lot about the quality of our School District when you hear people talk with that level of passion and appreciation for Kaneland,” he said.