The Beaver Dam Unified School District approved the resignations of 26 staff members during its board meeting on Monday.

"While we will fill these positions, we will never replace them," director of human resources Sharon Bliefernicht said.

Board member Kim Darst opposed the resignations. A fellow teacher Darst said she felt that half the people on the list felt like they were being forced to make a decision.

"It's sad when you dedicate your whole life to education and you feel like that," Darst said.

Many of the board members thanked the teachers for the years they spent educating students in Beaver Dam.

"A good teacher works harder than anyone else in any other occupation," Board member Jean Hill said.

Superintendent Steve Vessey said the list reads like the foundation of his own education while he was a student at Lincoln Elementary School, Beaver Dam Middle School and Beaver Dam High School.

"A couple of the people on the list had key roles in leading me into a career in education," Vessey said.

Dennis Gutgesell, who died on Wednesday, was accepted for his resignation posthumously. Gutgesell was a math and computer science teacher at Beaver Dam High School for 27 years.

Other retiring Beaver Dam High School teachers were social studies teacher Joe Loizzo, 34 years; family and consumer education teacher Sue Shore, 30 years; business and marketing education teacher Diane Stier, 21 years; physical education teacher Curt Grunewald, 26 years, and special education teacher Ken Steffan, 21 years.

Beaver Dam Middle School will see the resignation of six teachers: seventh grade science teacher Angie Kirst, 36 years; social studies teacher Craig Martin, 32 years; social studies teacher Bonnie Kieffer, 32 years; special education teacher Susan Wiggins, 12 years; eighth grade math teacher Karen Michels Tills, 33 years; and instrumental music teacher Tom Irwin, 32 years.

Three teachers resigned from Jefferson Elementary School: third grade teacher Gale Prinsen, 32 years; fourth grade teacher Vicki Frinak, 22 years, and first grade teacher Suzanne Kelsey, 36 years.

Three teachers also resigned from Trenton Elementary School: fourth grade teacher Steven Diederich, 37 years; third grade teacher Melody Scott, 33 years; and second grade teacher Kathi Gallus, 33 years.

Prairie View Elementary School has two teachers retiring: fourth grade teacher Donna Hoffmaster, 26 years, and speech and language teacher Lynn Sharkey, 22 years. Secretary Gloria Wimmer, 12 years, also is retiring.

South Beaver Dam secretary Janet Minnig, 19 years, also is retiring.

Washington Elementary School second grade teacher, Mary Fritz, 31 years, was also listed as retiring.

Lincoln Elementary School will be losing third grade teacher Janet Gehl, 26 years. Elementary School ELL tutor Kathy Laatsch, 7 years, and school counselor Susan Comello, 21 years, will also retire.

The retirements will go in effect at the end of the school year. Vessey said there is a possibility of more teachers retiring next month.

The board delayed making a decision on 16 of the retirements last month in the hope that some of the long-term educators would change their minds about retirement.

tpederson@ capitalnewspapers.com

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