Second-grade teacher recalls 35 years in the classroom | June 28, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 28, 2013

Second-grade teacher recalls 35 years in the classroom

33 staff members retiring from school district

by Glenn Wohltmann

Among the 33 staff members who retired from the Pleasanton school district at the end of the school year is Carol Wolfe, who's retiring after three decades as a teacher.

"I was surprised to learn it's been 35 years," Wolfe said. "The time has just flown."

Wolfe had a unique opportunity in Pleasanton. She was on teams that opened two different schools: Pleasanton Middle School and Hearst Elementary.

She called the 1991 opening of PMS "amazing."

"It was very exciting, people from all over coming to the school to see it because at the time it was the best school ever. It was more like a business park than a school," Wolfe said. "It's really exciting to open up a school -- it's quite a phenomenon. They're getting new mascots, everything. It's all new."

After a year at PMS, Wolfe transferred to Valley View Elementary, where she went back to teaching second grade.

"I got to teach science and math and social studies. I have a science background, so it was really exciting to get back and teach those things," she said. "All my students know me from raising silkworms in the classroom."

One tradition she had was to give out rocks -- pyrite, crystals, fossilized trilobites and shark's teeth -- when students completed a project. She took that tradition with her when she moved to help open Hearst in 2000.

"Once again it was exciting, deciding on school colors and a mascot," Wolfe said. "It was a real privilege to be at another school."

She said departing after so long in the district was sad, leaving not only her last class, but all the students that came back to see her.

"I had fifth-graders come in after school to help grade papers," she said. "High school students would come back and ask if I'm still giving out rocks and raising silkworms."

Her advice to an incoming teacher?

"Don't be afraid to show your passion, what you like to do -- the kids pick up on that passion," Wolfe said "Make learning fun, so kids get hooked into it."

She said she's planning on doing some traveling and spending time outdoors.

"I'll take advantage of off season discounts that you can't do when you're a teacher -- and playing lots of golf," she said.

But, Wolfe added, she hasn't ruled out returning to the district, this time as a volunteer.

Other retirees from the district are:

* Jacqueline Albano, resource specialist at Hart Middle School

* Keith Averell, third-grade teacher at Vintage Hills Elementary

* Judith Beebe-Vargas, speech therapist at Walnut Grove Elementary

* Laura Bennett, first-grade teacher at Donlon Elementary

* Karen Buchanan, administrative secretary at PMS

* Cella Ermina, child nutrition assistant at Amador child nutrition

* Leslie Dannis, deaf/hard of hearing teacher for special education

* Gregory Davis, music teacher at Lydiksen and Donlon elementaries

* Dan Diep, custodian at Foothill High

* Susan Di Girolamo, resource specialist at Mohr Elementary

* Patricia Esser, special education assistant at Foothill

* Joyce Frye, business services administrative assistant at the district offices

* James Hansen, principal, Amador Valley High

* Gary Hicklin, technology director for the district

* Rebecca Hintze, campus monitor at Foothill

* Paula Jenkins, resource specialist at Lydiksen

* Robert Loew, math teacher at Foothill

* Linda Olbrycht, counselor at Vintage Hills

* Dee Osborne, business services coordinator at the district offices

* Dane Post, science teacher at PMS

* Paula Richter, second-grade teacher at Walnut Grove

* Kelly Sandler, resource specialist at Foothill

* Francisco Santos, math teacher at PMS

* Janet Sears, third-grade teacher at Mohr

* Susan Snyder-Johnson, second-grade teacher at Vintage Hills

* Vicki Stephens, first-grade teacher at Vintage Hills

* Theresa Sullivan, second-grade teacher at Hearst

* Ellen Talbot, second-grade teacher at Fairlands

* Ellen Waskey, reading specialist at the district offices

* Nancy Wedge, math teacher at PMS

* John Whitney, principal at PMS

* Lee Zachariades, PE/social studies/leadership teacher at Village High


Like this comment
Posted by Joyce McCord
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Aug 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm

For some reason today Mr. Zack (Lee Zacharides) popped into my head and I had to google him to try and find out if he was still teaching. I have had a lot of teachers over my 44 years who have made an impact on my life but the one teacher who always stood out above the rest was Mr. Zack. I can only wish that two of my kids still left in school would have an opportunity to work with a teacher even half as amazing as he was. He made such a difference in not only my life but I"m sure many other's as well. Mr. Zack enjoy your retirement and know that you made a difference in a lot of lives and there has not yet been a teacher I've had or run across that had impacted me as much as you did in my 6th grade class at Pleaseanton junior high. You were simply one of the best teachers out there.
Joyce McCord(Platts)

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Posted by Forgetting some teachers...
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 18, 2014 at 4:45 pm

What about Madame Jacqueline Smith? Wasn't she "asked" to retire this year? I heard she was going to start a llama farm...

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:58 am


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Posted by I spotted him!!
a resident of Livermore
on Aug 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

[Removed because it was irrelevant}

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Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:18 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

Everyone!!! Take the time to sent a letter to the teacher who most impacted your life. It will be good for both you and the teacher. If you're retired do it today. Your teacher won't have many days left.

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Posted by Gram-ME
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 20, 2014 at 9:29 am

Gram-ME is a registered user.

RE: List of those retiring/leaving PUSD, very well-liked Mr. Hansen left Amador in 2013; a big loss to students. Our family attended his last grad ceremony. Maybe he was on extended and/or accrued vacation, etc. but he's been gone from school over a year. Wondering how up-to-date is this list?

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Posted by helenayers
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Aug 20, 2014 at 10:55 am

helenayers is a registered user.

Yes, the article was from June 2013...