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TUSD honors retiring teachers, employees

TUSD honors retiring teachers, employees

Ardith Feucht, Joyce Lingrel, Doug Smith, Nancy Snodgrass and Barbara Swier collectively served Turlock Unified School District as certified teachers for 145 years. They were just a few of the 17 r...


POSTED May 6, 2014 10:43 p.m.

When Linda Murphy-Lopes began kindergarten she was an illiterate, second-language learning student without dreams or aspirations. Turn the page and several years later she is one of the most powerful educators and catalysts for positive change in students in the Turlock Unified School District. This is her last year in the District as she is retiring after 25 years in Turlock and 30 years in education overall.

 "I did not know that dreams were possible," said Murphy-Lopes, reflecting on her youth. "The tenacity of a few teachers made a difference in my world and in my ability to persevere and achieve. Now, I am always cognizant of the depth and breadth of knowledge that we need to offer our children so that they can dream and succeed as well."

Murphy-Lopes is not the only one to invest in the students of the TUSD as 16 other employees who are retiring were honored at the TUSD Board of Trustees meeting for ultimately changing the landscape of education in Turlock. From paraprofessionals to teachers, campus supervisors to administrative employees, men and women were honored for their contributions to the District, totaling 412 years of service from certificated teachers and classified employees. Laughs were had and tears were shed as individuals reflected on memorable moments and celebrated the strength of the District, largely attributed to the countless hours of the 17 employees honored.

"Teaching is at my very soul. It is. It is my soul's purpose," said Barbara Swier, a Turlock Junior High School retiree who succinctly expressed many teachers' sentiments.

Several individuals were honored for their contributions outside of the classroom, including Lori Decker who serves as the as the Assistant Superintendent of Fiscal Services. Decker will be retiring after 26 years of service and witnessed many changes in her position over the years including the conflation of two districts into one and the increase in students from 8,000 at 10 school sites to 14,000 at 16 sites.

"My career with Turlock Schools has been both challenging and fulfilling. The past 26 years have brought tremendous change to the District," said Decker. "The amount of financial reporting and accountability has increased tremendously from when I started as the Supervisor of Budget and Accounting in 1988. I’ve been blessed to work with so many wonderful people over the years, including board members, superintendents, administrators, teachers and classified employees."

Decker is exiting the District at a pivotal time as the 2014-2015 school year marks the first non-transitional year under the State's new funding model, Local Control Funding Formula, which allocates more spending control to local school districts than ever before. According to Decker, as of now TUSD is in the process of adopting a budget and aligning its Local Control Accountability Plan, a compulsory portion of the formula that aims to ensure districts across the state are meeting the needs of students unique to their district. The new Assistant Superintendent will assume position on July 1.

Several other positions will be filled this upcoming school year as the Board approved reccomendations for the positions of Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services, Principal of Earl Elementary, Principal of Brown Elementary, and the Assistant Principal of Crowell Elementary. Sandra Harrington from Dixon Unified will become the Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services; current Dennis Earl Principal Tami Truax will become Principal of Cunningham Elementary; Assistant Principal Luisa Salinas of Wakefield Elementary will become Principal at Brown Elementary, while current Principal Jeff Parsons will replace Linda Murphy-Lopes at Julien Elementary; Assistant Principal Terry Souza at Crowell Elementary will be moving to Medeiros Elementary, and Medeiros teacher Angela Freeman will become Assistant Principal of Crowell Elementary.

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