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Holladay Journal

Thanks for the memories! Retiring area educators gave hundreds of years of service

Jun 28, 2021 03:09PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Three retiring teachers at Olympus Jr. High are honored at an end of the year luncheon. (Olympus Jr. High PTA)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Schools in the Holladay area wished a happy retirement to dozens of educators and staff this year. Retirees included administrators, teachers, custodians and secretaries. Together, these Granite School District educators have more than 691 years of experience. 

At Oakwood Elementary, Tod Cracroft retired as principal after 28 years with the district. Cracroft was a beloved administrator who made up songs on his guitar and sang in videos to the kids. In 2019 Cracroft returned after cancer treatment and was surprised by a hallway full of paper cranes made by students.

“The PTA presented Mr. Cracroft with a memory book. He was so grateful, and it’s something he will treasure forever. Tod, we will miss you and hope you know how wonderful you are!” wrote the PTA on their Facebook page. 

Another retiring principal was Judith Kissell of James E. Moss Elementary. Kissell worked in GSD for 36 years, and oversaw many projects, including updating the school pantry. James E. Moss also loses second grade teacher Shauna Starr, who taught for 30 years. 

Olympus Jr. High wished three influential teachers a happy retirement: Alan Thomas, Jayne Springman and Lani Anderson. They were treated to a luncheon at the end of the school year. 

Crestview Elementary’s secretary Leanne Helbling retired after 30 years, and retiring third-grade teacher Carolyn Mulvaney’s career spanned 26 years with the district. 

Irma Hofer retired from Skyline High after 33 years of teaching Spanish. Hofer is active in the community as the artistic director of Ballet Folklórico de las Americas. 

Cottonwood Elementary’s two retiring teachers both taught second grade. Barbara Homer and Kathleen Peake had a combined 33 years’ worth of experience.   

Mill Creek Elementary said goodbye to secretary Lisa Boman, second grade dual language teacher Gina Graham, fourth grade teacher Karen Grim and first grade teacher Barbara Lowe. Together they represent 71 years in education.   

Jane Nate, career center coordinator at Olympus High retired. Nate worked with the highly successful Sterling Scholar candidates at Olympus, and called those students “the best of the best.” Secretary and registrar Rachael Morton also retired from Olympus High after more than two decades. 

Evergreen Jr. High bid a fond farewell to three women who kept the school – and the kids – running. Bonnie Smith retired from her position as principal’s secretary and Gail Hoskins from hers as assistant custodian. Health and PE teacher Melonie Kent made Evergreen her home for her entire 34-year career. 

“Ms. Kent was my PE teacher, and when my kids came here she was their PE teacher, too,” said Taylor Allred. Allred’s kids are third generation Evergreen students, and Allred was happy to accept the position vacated by Bonnie Smith’s retirement. 

Phillip Despain of Bonneville Jr. High retired during the school year after 28 years. Despain worked as a college- and career-readiness teacher. Principal Rocky Lambourne acknowledged Despain in a note from the principal. “We… thank him for his many years at Bonneville and wish him well as he starts a new adventure in his life.”

Of all the schools, Cottonwood High is saying goodbye to the largest group. Eight Colts retired within the last year and had a combined 174 years of education experience. 

“I’m so glad for the opportunity to publicly wish them well,” said Cottonwood principal Terri Roylance. “Jeff Royce and Val Westover were our head custodians. They’ve done an outstanding job keeping our building looking great, and they are missed,” Roylance said. 

Roylance also praised special education teacher Susan Dyer who retired at the beginning of the year, and Sherri Duckworth who was a dedicated and responsible registrar. 

When ninth grade moved into the high school building a few years ago, three of this year’s retiring teachers came to Cottonwood from junior high schools to help with the transition: Kevin Kingdon, Laurie Erney and Lisa Tonge.  

Kingdon taught math, but was also a helpful “tech wizard”. Laurie Erney taught special education and “served our students with disabilities very well.” Lisa Tonge taught AP Human Geography, and was very visible in the Cottonwood community. She served as the teachers’ union representative. Roylance said Tonge will be very missed by students, parents, faculty and staff. 

Finally, retiring art teacher Glen Fuller takes the cake. Fuller spent 16 years as the “anchor” of Cottonwood’s art department. “A group of former students brought him a cake the last week of school to let him know how much he has influenced their lives,” Roylance said. 

Knowing your subject and knowing your students are two of the most important ingredients for successful teaching. Roylance praised Fuller for having both. “He is very talented, and he knows how to inspire future artists,” Roylance said. 

To a retiring educator, hearing that is the icing on the cake.   

Editor’s note: Information obtained from Granite School District website June 2021. Time is rounded to closest year.