Retiring District 709 staff

Staff Writer
Morton Times-News
Pictured above are staff that are retiring this year from Morton District 709. Collectively, they represent 240-plus years of experience and expertise. From left, Bev DeChaney, Rodney Staker, Peggy Austin, Andy Zuck, Alice Loring, Sana Becker and Matt Yarcho. Not pictured: Elizabeth Miltenberger, Gary Kutkat and Karen Julien.

 Sana Becker

 Position with District 709: Currently teaching sevent grade language arts, previously taught art when it was still a unit class.

Employment History: Calvin Coolidge Jr. High, Moline (7-8 art, English, speech), Albia Middle School, Albia, Iowa (5, 6 ,7 art), Washington Middle School, Pekin (7-8 art), Wyoming H.S., Wyoming (part time art), taught art methods for Eureka College, Morton CUSD 709, Morton (HS and JH art, LA).

In addition to teaching, I worked as a librarian for the University of Iowa, directed plays and taught after school drama programs for the Peoria Park District, was house manager of a group home for disabled adults, and worked as a case coordinator for Community Workshop and Training Center.

Family: Married to Rick Becker for almost 40 years, daughters: Annie Wilson and Emily Hampton, grandchildren: Jake, Alex, and Abram Wilson and Ben and Lilly Hampton.

Any memories or funny stories you would like to share? Too many to count.

What have you learned from your students? That school should be a mixture of fun and work; when there’s an imbalance, there’s usually a problem … that they are smarter, funnier, kinder, and more thoughtful than we often give them credit for … that, given the right opportunities, they each have unique talents to share with the world; sometimes it just takes a little time and effort to figure out what those are … that laughter keeps you young.

What advice would you give a first year teacher?

1) Things take as long as they take … in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

2) Plans are great — just treat them as suggestions, not the 10 Commandments.

3) Laugh a lot … at jokes, at kid-silliness, at yourself, and at your mistakes — It proves you’re human.

4) Do your best; it will be enough … There really isn’t any other option.

 During my career I learned to: accept that sometimes kids have more going on in their lives than what’s happening in my class. Recognizing that gives perspective to our roles as educators.

 In retirement I plan to: Sleep well on Sunday night and not worry about grading the papers in my briefcase/portfolio that should be handed back Monday morning.

Andy Zuck

Position with District 709: U.S. History teacher, social studies department head at MJHS. Worked for District 709 from 1977-2013.

Family: Wife, Lynne and Daughter, Deidre.

Memories: I was awarded the WHOI-TV Golden Apple Award in 1994.

What have you learned from your students? To keep a sense of humor.

What advice would you give a first year teacher? Make class interesting, relevant, and enjoyable.

During my career I learned to: Be flexible.

In retirement I plan to: Travel, read, hopefully teach history part-time.

Matt Yarcho

Position with District 709: P.E. teacher

Employment History: Charleston High School, 1977-79; East Peoria High School, 1979-81; Oblong High School, 1981-82; Argenta/Oreana High School, 1982-84; Marquette Heights Middle School, 1984-85; District 709, 1985-2013.

Family: Wife, Betsy, married for 34 years and two daughters, Kristi, 30, and Karen, 26.

Memories: Too many.

What have you learned from your students? Patience and remain young at heart.

What advice would you give a first year teacher? Treat every student like you would want your own child treated.

During my career I learned to: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In retirement I plan to: RELAX!

Bev DeChaney

Position with District 709: High School Custodian, 1986-2013.

What will you miss and what will you not miss about your job? I won’t miss the cafeteria. But, I will miss getting the nightly garbage out of the classrooms because if the teachers are there I get to see them.

Rodney Staker

Position with District 709: High School Custodian, 2002-2013.

What will you miss and what will you not miss about your job? I will miss the camaraderie with my co-workers. I will also miss working outside getting the ball diamonds and the football field ready for games. Really, there’s nothing I won’t miss.

Peggy Austin

Position with District 709: High School Instructional Aide, 1992-2013.

Memories/Thoughts about retirement: I’m so thankful to be part of the transition and formation of the Life Academy – what it stands for and what it means for the senior students at the high school. I’ve very fortunate that I was able to go to work every day and love my job.

Alice Loring

Position with District 709: Lettie Brown Instructional Aide, 1994-2013.

Memories/Thoughts about retirement: Being a Mom with a child with Downs Syndrome I was able to see things from a Mom’s perspective and from a teacher’s perspective. I really appreciate the school district and what they do for students. I will miss the kids and seeing their progress.