Dowagiac Union Schools recognize retiring staff

DOWAGIAC — With another school year come and gone, several Dowagiac Union School employees are preparing to enter the next chapter of their lives.

This week, the Dowagiac Board of Education recognized several retiring members of Dowagiac Union Schools’ staff. Each member was introduced by the principal at their school and was celebrated with a brief ceremony and reception.

Randy Luthringer, counselor, and Toni Pasternak, guidance secretary, were recognized from Dowagiac Union High School. Between the two, they have 55 years of service to the district.

Both Luthringer and Pasternak were introduced by DUHS principal Kelly Millin, who described the two as a “dream team,” before wishing them luck in their new adventures.

“I was very fortunate to have them,” Millin said. “They are a force to be reckoned with. They will be missed, but they will forever be Dowagiac Union High School Chieftains.”

Retiring from Kincheloe Elementary was third-grade teacher Karen Hardisty. She was presented and recognized by principal Cathy Stone.

“Karen is one of those teachers that always looks out for her kids,” Stone said. “She is an advocate not only for her kids but her other staff members. She’s done a great job, and we are going to miss her, her hard work and her great attitude.”

Retiring from the administration office was Lou Ann Conklin. She was presented and recognized by Stacy Ritchie, director of finance. Conklin retired Feb. 1.

“Lou Ann worked very hard her entire life, not only at her place of employment but also volunteering,” Ritchie said. “Dowagiac Union Schools very fortunate to have her for the last five years of her career in our administration office. She has a strong work ethic, vast knowledge of accounting and is never afraid to try new things. … I wish you the very best in your future endeavors.”

Before moving into a reception, Superintendent Jonathan Whan thanked all the retirees for their service to the Dowagiac Union School District.

“I want to express my appreciation for our hardworking retirees for all they have done for this district and the community,” he said. “We all believe we are in this for the kids, and as I’ve gotten to know each of our retirees this year, I surely believe that they are in it for the kids. That is evident in their personality, their character and their love for our students. On behalf of the board of education, thank you. We appreciate you. We wish you well and hope you look back on this time that you served with fondness.”

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