Editor's note: On April 17, Durango School District 9-R announced that 19 employees in the district will not have jobs this fall. Most of the layoffs are at Durango High School, which is projected to lose more than 200 students in part because of the opening of Animas High School this fall. Also, the incoming freshman class is expected to be smaller than the graduating senior class.
Not all of the teaching positions will be eliminated; some teachers were let go for other reasons and will be replaced. The school district is considering transferring some employees to other positions within the district.
Student reporters at El Diablo, the newspaper at Durango High School, contacted 20 staff members who will not be returning to ask about their plans. Their answers ran in the May 14 edition of the paper and are reprinted below.
•Teri Nuhn: English and speech, five-plus years in education, two at the high school.
Future plans: Nuhn is transferring to Park Elementary to teach third grade.
•Diane Trembly: Attendance, 21 years in education, 15 at DHS. Trembly is retiring.
Favorite moment at work: Always working with the kids, giving them crazy advice and encouraging students when they are down.
Future plans: Work in the garden, read, clean, genealogy work, volunteer, go motorcycling and study the Bible.
•Pam Mackley: Library Media Aid, five years in education, four at DHS.
Future plans: To transfer to Park Health Services Provider.
Favorite moment at work: Helping to find just the right book for a student's research.
Additional comments: I've enjoyed my time at DHS and will miss the friends I've made here, both students and staff.
•Betty Magill: Librarian media specialist, 21 years in education, eight years at DHS.
Future plans: Perhaps I will try to pursue with more determination my currently part-time career in art, as a painter and printmaker and book-cover artist, but I probably also will have to find another job.
Additional comments: I will miss very much working with staff and students. I enjoy the interaction, the give and the take of the many varied things that happened in a library.
•Teresa Craft: Science, one year in education, one year at DHS.
Future plans: I am going to hang out this summer, substitute teach and go visit my sister in Africa in the fall, be a private tutor for a family in the Caribbean in the second trimester and then something else totally cool, but I don't know after that.
Favorite moments at work: Any time during a lab when students say, "Wow. This is cool - look at this." But the best day was the day we went on a field trip to the parking lot to look at and discuss my veggie fuel-powered truck and its filtration system.
Additional comments: If DHS needs a science teacher in the future, I'd come back in a heartbeat. Life next year is going to be pretty cool, but I'm going to really miss the students.
•Leigh Gozigian: Social studies and street law, 15 years in education, two at DHS.
Future plans: In my understanding, I was let go because of the overstaffing in the social studies department. With that in mind, I plan to stick around and hope for the best. I am a Demon.
Favorite moment at work: The amazing thing about teaching here has been seeing something new in the students each day, whether it is a spark or a student finally understanding something.
Additional comments: To the students I have had in the last two years, I will really miss them and seeing their intellectual growth continue.
•Deb Mondenwaldt: Gifted and talented coordinator, 10-plus years in education, one year at DHS.
Future plans: To come back to work with all the great people here at DHS.
Favorite moment at work: Watching students achieve their goals. This year, we helped students enroll in prestigious prep schools, gain admissions to their first-choice college and enroll in a variety of advanced or accelerated classes. Most importantly, I have been privileged to watch the students here at DHS mature into well-educated, thoughtful adults. Well done, DHS students.
Additional comments: Thank you, everyone, for this opportunity.
•Dot Larson: Spanish level 1 and AP, 30-plus years in education, 12 years at DHS. Larson is retiring.
Future plans: I will be a full-time visiting instructor in Spanish at Fort Lewis College. I'm sure I'll continue to indulge my passions for travel, especially to visit my children and grandchildren.
Favorite moment at work: It's hard to specify any single moment. I love the enthusiasm of my AP kids for speaking and singing in Spanish, and their willingness to work as hard as they do. I love seeing the progress of students at the beginning levels. I love my co-workers, and I especially have loved receiving college graduation announcements from former students who are receiving degrees in Spanish.
•John Wade: Security, two years at DHS.
Future plans: Being a father.
Favorite moment at work: Lifting weights with students in the weight room.
Additional comments: I think DHS will miss Darth Vader.
•Jennifer Johnson: English, eight years in education, two years at DHS.
Future plans: I will be teaching at Mancos High School.
Favorite moment at work: I have had many favorite moments; there are just too many.
•Dan Garner: English, gifted and talented, one year in education, one year at DHS.
Future plans: I couldn't imagine living in Durango and not working with the students and playing the fiddle in the halls.
Favorite moment at work: 30-second Shakespeare puppet plays and having the students write odes to their favorite object, on the object.
Additional comments: Eschew obfuscation (avoid confusing people).
•Terry McFadden: Secretary, 10 years at DHS.
Future plans: Hopefully, there will be this great door that will open, with all kinds of wonderful opportunities for me.
Favorite moment at work: Being here to watch my children go through high school. Sadly, I won't be here to see Zach through his junior and senior year.
Additional comments: I will miss everyone greatly; this staff at DHS is awesome. I wish things could have been different.
•Jennifer Darlow: Math, two years in education, one year at DHS.
Future plans: To continue to live and coach in Durango, to start a middle school girls' lacrosse program and hopefully teach math at DHS.
Favorite moment at work: Getting the first win in the history of DHS girls lacrosse.
Additional comments: I was on a one-year contract for Donna Thormaben's maternity leave, so I was always in the position of needing to reapply, which I've done.
•Jessica Gennari: Spanish, levels 2 and 3, six years in education, two years at DHS.
Future plans: I will be teaching at Miller part-time.
Favorite moment at work: Doing the art expositions with the students each trimester, where students research a famous artist and describe him or her and their work. Also, seeing students get over their inhibition to speak a foreign language, and actually enjoying it.
Additional comments: I have enjoyed being able to work with some of my students for four trimesters, which has allowed me to make some great relationships with students. Thank you, DHS.
•Mary Juskevich: Math, seven years in education, 1.3 years at DHS.
Future plans: Be rehired, and work in Durango Schools.
Favorite moment at work: Birthday cake from a student.
Additional comments: I have been honored to be a part of Durango High this school year. After a few years of teaching middle school in the past, I have come to love the freshmen. It is an enormous step forward in life to change from middle school to high school.
•Leslie Donohue: Special education, 18 years in education, 11 years at DHS.
Future plans: Take more time to do less, spend more time with family and do dog agility with my border collie.
Favorite moment at work: To see a student I trained still have the job several years later.
Additional comments: I appreciate what a welcoming and caring community we live in, as they have opened their doors to our work program. I am honored to have worked with some amazing students and staff, and will enjoy the many wonderful memories.
•Steve Smith: Science, four years in education, one year at DHS.
Future plans: To search for yeti while on a long rock-climbing road trip.
Favorite moment at work: Learning things from my students, like sticking ear buds in your nose results in amplified sound coming out your mouth.
Additional comments: Go Demons.
•David Blau: Counselor, 10 years in education, eight years at DHS.
Future plans: Help with school counseling in Washington.
Favorite moment at work: Right now; and when I helped a student get closer to fulfilling her childhood dream of swimming with Shamu.
Additional comments: Broomball champs forever.
•Pat May: Math, department chairwoman, 43 years in education, 30 years at DHS. May is retiring.
Future plans: To have forever summer.
Favorite moment at work: When I can see the light go on in the students' faces and you can tell they have gotten the idea.
Additional comments: I feel fortunate to have taught with such great colleagues and to have taught so many wonderful students. Thank you for the wonderful experience.
•Linda Bayer: Special education, eight years in education, two years at DHS.
Future plans: I do not know; work on getting highly qualified in math and a master's in special education.
Favorite moment at work: The talent show assembly was probably one of my favorite moments. The kids who performed were beyond awesome, and the kids who were watching were respectful and receptive.
Additional comments: I've enjoyed every kid I've had contact with at DHS. They each have some wonderful thing that is special.