Bio: Nemitz, Sharon (Retires From Teaching - 2017)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Nemitz, Allard, Shadrick, Trunkel, Sternitzky, Glinski, Thoma, Channing, Warmuth
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 5/10/2017
Nemitz Retires From Teaching (42 Yr./St. John’s – 30 June 2017)
Nemitz Retiring after 42 Years of Teaching at St. John’s
Sharon Nemitz has announced her retirement after 42 years of teaching at St. John’s Lutheran School. A special church service, program, and lunch honoring her career will be held Sunday, May 21. Nemitz and her students are pictured Thursday in her classroom at St. John’s Lutheran School. (Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)
By Todd Schmidt
Sharon Nemitz has served as a teacher at St. John’s Lutheran School in Neillsville for 42 years.
Nemitz has decided to retire at the end of this school year. She reminisced about her long and rewarding career at the school Thursday during a break in her class schedule.
Throughout the years, depending upon enrollment numbers, Nemitz has taught grades 1 through 6, plus music instruction for all classes. She currently teaches grades 3, 4, and 5.
“The kids said they would like me to stay another 1,000 years,” she said. “That being said, it seems like a good time to retire.”
Part of her decision to hang it up at age 65, is the fact her husband Melvin just retired from MEC last week, after a long career in manufacturing in Neillsville that included stints at Nelson Muffler, and Cummins Filtration.
She and Melvin plan to visit their children in Racine and St. Paul, and do some extended camping this summer. They have no firm plans to become “snowbirds” in the winter.
“Melvin loves to do woodworking in his shop,” she said. “I will play piano for myself, and I might take up crocheting again. It will be weird not getting ready for school next year. There will be times when I’ll look outside at our long driveway on an icy winter day and be glad I can just stay home, and not worry about the travel.”
St John’s started a kindergarten program in 1990, and about 10 years ago began a preschool and daycare schedule.
Currently, St. John’s operates with a teaching staff of four, including Mike and Megan Allard, and Jenny Shadrick. Mike Allard also serves as principal.
Other employees include secretary Judy Trunkel, daycare director Donna Sternitzky, daycare assistant Alice Glinski, school cook Bonnie Thoma, Custodian Matt Glinski, and librarian Harry Channing.
Nemitz estimates working with at least 20 different principals and teachers over the years. She has taught over 400 students, many of them second generation. If she would teach another few years, she would reach into the third generation in a few families.
Trunkel was a second-grader in Nemitz’s first class, when she taught grades 1 and 2.
“I really appreciated her as a teacher,” Trunkel said. “She also taught me how to play the piano and the organ. I can’t thank her enough.
“She has many special qualities. She loves her students. Music is her passion, and it is near and dear to her heart. My daughters both attended St. John’s School, and she was their favorite teacher overall. Everyone has a lot of respect for her. She makes her class fun.”
Nemitz reviewed her class schedule Thursday, which included segments of math, English, reading, art, science, history, spelling, Bible readings, and music. Her students begin each day of school with a Bible reading and end with 30 minutes of individual study time. She also teaches introductory to catechism for grade 6 students twice per week.
She admits there is a lot of prep work and lesson planning involved in the teaching profession.
“I try different teaching methods to motivate, and excite my students,” she said. “I introduce a personal effect to show them how it applies to what we are doing at the time.”
Nemitz uses a white board to present math problems and relies on the Internet and Google to help with questions raised in other classes.
“I’m sure I don’t use as much technology as other teachers do,” she said. “I definitely rely on technology more than when I first started teaching.”
She finally put her gradebook on the computer, which she admits has been a real-time saver.
“Being from the ‘old school’ I was open to that change,” She smiled. “I eventually learned how to do more and more. When I first started teaching, we had one computer for the whole school. I was afraid I was going to blow it up. It took a while to get over the fear of turning it on.”
Nemitz said one of the most rewarding things about teaching in a private school is being able to tell the children about Jesus Christ.
“Kids get excited to hear those stories year after year,” she said.
It is also a joy for her to see progress in the students’ eyes.
“Some kids are not getting it, and then I see a light bulb go on,” she said. “They got it.”
Nemitz is proud of the fact that at least 10 of her former students have gone on to become Lutheran School teachers, including her daughter Rachel. Trunkel started serving as the church organist in the fourth grade.
“I overslept one Sunday and she had to fill in for me during the church service,” Trunkel said. “I’ll never forget that one.”
Nemitz said the St. John’s faculty has gotten along well over the years, noting they have always been able to talk through problems and find solutions.
When Nemitz first started teaching, she had to serve as the cheerleading coach. She has kept score at school basketball games for at least 35 years. All the while, she made her mark in the music program.
She has played the organ for church services for 40 years and directed the church choir for 30 years, and directed the handbells group for 20 years.
Nemitz has had her hand in the church talent show/music, and literature night for many years, which is scheduled Thursday, May 11. She will again be part of a two-piano quartet featuring karen Warmuth, Sternitzky and Trunkel.
Nemitz is humbled by how many of her former students come up and acknowledge her at church, and throughout the community. She will have a chance to mingle with a hug cross-section of people during a retirement celebration at St. John’s Church Sunday, May 21.
She said the plan includes a 9 a.m. church service, followed by a main program and a lunch featuring a pig roast. There will be plenty of time for socializing after the noon meal.
Reservations for the meal are being handled by the school office. Call 715-743-2501 or email email@example.com. Allard is in his fourth year as principal. He said Nemitz is leaving some big shoes to fill.
“The main thing about her is her professionalism,” Allard said. “She has the ideal worker and servant mentality. She is friendly and is willing to do what is necessary.
“Her service of 42 years shows her love for this area, and her dedication to this school. It shows that St. John’s School and church is a good place to be. We don’t get enough credit for that.”
Nemitz said her last teaching day will be May 26, with her last official day being June 30.
“It will be an emotional time for me,” she said. “I will probably do a lot of crying.”
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