Susan Elseth started her career as a teacher in Carroll County fresh out of college. Now 27 years later, she is retiring from her role as a special education teacher at Piney Ridge Elementary School.
“I love teaching, and I love teaching in Carroll County,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to watch the special education program in Carroll County evolve as I’ve been there. ... There has been a real push for enhancing independence of students.”
From her years in elementary school special education, first at Robert Moton and then at Piney Ridge, she learned that one of the most important skills is being able to “go with the flow,” because even the best-laid plans can change.
For those still in college, she recommends all future teachers take coursework in teaching special education students. Those students will very often be part of general education classes in their schools.
“It’s been an amazing adventure. Carroll County is very supportive of special education. Presuming competence in students is everything. There are a lot of places that don’t have that,” she said.
Elseth was one of 90 CCPS employees recognized for their service during the July Board of Education meeting after retiring this year.
In total the retirees had a combined 2,056 years of service.
“It’s really astounding,” said Superintendent of Schools Steve Lockard. “You think of the lives touched, the impact made to students and the community of Carroll County. We are certainly thankful for your service, for all that you brought each and every day to Carroll County Public Schools. this is but a very small token of appreciation, but please know how much you’re appreciated.”
They represent a wide range of employee groups including teachers, assistants and paraprofessionals, nurses, counselors, school and central office administrators, clericals, cafeteria workers, and custodial and maintenance employees, according to a news release from the school system.
Many of those recognized Wednesday had put in more than 30 years of service, including Arthur Matthews, social studies teacher at Westminster High who retired after 39 years, Carolyn Showalter who retired as elementary school assistant at Piney Ridge after 36 years with the school system, and Betty Parker, licensed practical nurse at Mechanicsville Elementary. In Central Office, Director of Student Services Dana Falls retired after 31.5 years with CCPS.
Lockard also recognized Margaret Pfaff, director of curriculum and instructional resources for Carroll County Public Schools, who retired July 12.
“Dr. Pfaff has dedicated her entire career to Carroll County Public Schools," he said. "I think you’ve seen the results of student achievement over these many years and Dr. Pfaff has been leading in Carroll County Public Schools, leading in Carroll County Public Schools, and will be tremendously missed in Carroll County Public Schools.”
Others recognized included:
⋅ Robert Adams, Building Supervisor North at Carroll Middle School
⋅ Deborah Dayton, Special Education Assistant at West Middle School
⋅ Charles Smith III, Assistant Supervisor, Plant Maintenance Department
⋅ Richard Stultz, Building Supervisor at South Carroll High School
⋅ Joanne Davis, Special Education Teacher at Winfield Elementary School
⋅ Patrick Dotterweich, Social Studies Teacher at Shiloh Middle School
⋅ Donna Gable, Junior Accountant, Central Office
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⋅ Irene Hildebrandt, Supervisor of Media and Technology in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development