Retirement's gain is Cathedral Elementary School's loss this year.
After 24 years in education, one of the school's long-time teachers is retiring. But not before being recognized as this month's Top Notch Teacher.
In Mrs. Richert's 2nd grade class at Cathedral Elementary School in La Crosse, it's all about the uniqueness of each of her students. "What I try to do is to get to know the children and know what they're interested in and then teach to what they're interested in and teach to their level. A lot of encouragement, a lot of praise and fun, make it fun," said Mrs. Richert.
While she's about to retire after nearly 2.5 decades with the Aquinas Catholic School system, she actually didn't start out wanting to be a teacher. "I always enjoyed being with little children, but my ambition in high school was to be a secretary."
But at 33 years old, she took the plunge and enrolled at UW-La Crosse to get her teaching degree. "English 101, Biology 101 so that was quite an experience."
And she hasn't looked back since. "When I see my first class as adults I can't believe it, I can't believe they're that old," said Mrs. Richert.
"She is a master teacher in every sense of the word from the academic content she teaches kids to the life lessons and the love that she shares with them. She definitely reaches those kids that really need that extra challenge and excel, but she also has a great love the kids who struggle," said Cathedral's Principal and the head of Aquinas Catholic Schools Dr. Kurt Nelson.
But it's not just about teaching the kids. Mrs. Richert has also become a mentor to some of her peers along the way. "I do like to help the new teachers and give them ideas, tell them this is what is working for me, why don't you try this."
And now as she reflects back on her career, she knows there's a lot she's going to miss. "Being with the children, being with the children, that's going to be hard at first."
Mrs. Richert still plans to substitute teach and volunteer.