Honored 2023 Teaching Retirees

These fabulous teachers are retiring at the end of the school year. We have benefited from their unique talents and creativity. We’re grateful for their partnership in education, and their love for students, Their collaboration has made it possible to Build Better Futures in our community. Thank you for your service. We will miss you all.

We asked them 5 questions about their careers: 1) Short timeline of your career/buildings what grades or classes 2) Future Plans 3) Toughest challenge as a teacher 4) Greatest Success (program you created or a student story) 5) If you could WILL something to another teacher, what would you leave to them?

Greg Guffey, NCHS World Geography

Gregory Guffey, 4 years, World Geography

1) I began my teaching career in 1990 at the New Castle Alternative School (North Campus). It was located in a building behind the KFC on St. Rd. 3. I worked with an amazing group of teachers, and taught U.S. History, Current Events and World Geography. I was hired by the Anderson Community School Corporation in 1996 to teach Special Education and World Geography. I transferred to Anderson Highland High School the following year to teach U.S. History. I spent the next 13 years teaching AP Human Geography, AP World and U.S. History at Highland High School. I also had the opportunity to serve on various school improvement committees and as a department chair.  Anderson consolidated to one high school in 2010. I served at Anderson High School as a Dean of students, Special Education Case Manager and eventually back into the classroom as the ACP U.S. History instructor through Indiana University. I had the opportunity to lead the creation of the Anderson High School Alternative program (The Success Academy), because of my experience working in New Castle’s alternative program. I also headed the professional development program (PDS) for new teachers and student teachers through Ball State University. I returned to New Castle Community Schools in 2019 with the goal to finish my teaching career as a New Castle Trojan! I have had the opportunity to teach World Geography and AP Human Geography here at the high school. I have been a member of the school safety committee and the Social Studies Department chair for the past three years. New Castle has fantastic leadership and quality educators that I have valued as I close my teaching career! In all; 33 years of teaching/serving across the educational spectrum (10 yrs. In New Castle, 23 in Anderson). Three High Schools and two school corporations.

2) I plan to relax!!!!  Play the lottery? I plan to devote the majority of my time to serving as the pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church in Dublin, Indiana. I may eventually consider a return to the classroom as a substitute, or serving in another part-time position in education. Preferably, here in New Castle.

3) My toughest challenge as a teacher was simply keeping up with all of the State changes, requirements and responsibilities that have been added to the role of teachers over the years.

4) Surviving! I’ve had many individual success stories over the years, but I think the most notable successes have been the hundreds of positive relationships that have developed with students (many whom are still friends today) and staff/faculty over the years. This profession is all about building positive relationships!

5) Patience!!!!

Ramona Hacker, Data Coach

Ramona Hacker, Retiree, 41 years, Data Coach

Curriculum Technology Interventionist, Data & Instructional Coach

1) I have worked for New Castle School Corporation for 41 years.  It has been a great honor to work for the corporation serving in various roles.  I have enjoyed every venture of the journey. I loved serving as a classroom teacher for 28 years at Parker Elementary in grades first, fourth, and fifth. The wonderful students and families I met along the way have impacted my life forever.  With a strong love for math, it was a privilege to serve as the Parker MATH Bowl coach for 20+ years, and to teach advanced math concepts to students that also had a passion for math. I worked as a C.L.A.S.S. cadre coach for 2 years, traveling to Forest Ridge Elementary and  to the  International School of Indiana to work with teachers, giving them support and instruction in developing standard-based thematic curriculum for their classrooms. I have had the privilege of working under the leadership of 9 different principals during my career as a teacher and data coach.  It was a joy to work alongside several principals as I served as the building headteacher at Parker for 35+ years. I have had the honor of representing  the New Castle School Corporation on the Henry County Public Library Board for the past 13 years. It was also a great honor to be chosen to serve as the Corporation’s Elementary Virtual Coordinator and Curriculum Technology Interventionist during COVID.  One of my greatest joys of my educational journey has been to serve these past 13 years as a data coach, working under 2 wonderful curriculum directors. I enjoyed offering guidance, support, and mentorship to our New Castle teachers in curriculum, data, and technology.  I served in this role at Parker, Riley, Westwood, and Sunnyside schools.

2) I have plans to work part time, and to enjoy more time with family and friends.

3) As educators, we are lifelong learners.  We are always learning more about subject areas, new learning methods, how to engage students, and new technology tools to incorporate. Challenging perhaps, yet it also keeps the job new and exciting.

4) One of my greatest joys or successes has been to work as a data coach.  I considered it a great privilege to be chosen to serve as part of the leadership team for the school corporation.  I have always enjoyed technology, creating websites for NC ILEARN, the Virtual Academy, and the High Ability Resources were enjoyable tasks, as well as learning any new tools of technology.  Serving as the Elementary Virtual Coordinator was a good fit and a joy.

5) As a teacher, remember to always look for new opportunities to grow professionally.  Love what you do, and love students.  A good teacher never stops working to make a difference in the lives of their students both educationally, and in their long-term success.

Leesa Myers, NCCC Education Careers

Leesa Meyers, 41 years, Career Center Education Careers

1)1981 Student teaching 1st grade at Westwood with Betty Nordman & extended leave-substitute for Parker 1st grade | 1982-1983 1st grade teacher at Eastwood. 1983-2007 PreK, Kindergarten 1st grade, and 3rd grade at Sunnyside Elementary | 2007-2023 Early Childhood and Education Professions at New Castle Career Center.

2) I plan to travel and see where my Jeep takes me.

3) Remote teaching during COVID.

4) I can walk through all of New Castle Elementary Schools and see my former students working in careers as principals, teachers, counselors, social workers, instructional educators, librarians, and cafeteria service. I have had over 1000 students in my teaching career that are part of my heart.

5) Be PROUD of being a teacher. We need great teachers and remember…A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart. 

Joyce Rhoades, NCMS Math

Joyce Rhoades, 41 Years, Middle School Math

1)Mr. Herb Bunch hired me in 1983. I taught in the 7th Grade Building until the 7th grade moved to Parkview Jr. High in 1999. So I have been in the middle school from 1999 – 2023. Throughout my career I have taught 7th grade math along with 2 year of 8th grade math.

2)My future plans are to travel to all 7 continents (3 to go), ride my bicycle and walk whenever I want, and volunteer somewhere.

3)One of the toughest challenges for me has been maintaining a high level of perseverance. Every day and every class period begins with a fresh start. Even when individual students seem to lack endurance and motivation, teachers have to try to create it for them.

4)At the 7th Grade Building, I was involved in creating the STAR program (students at risk). That got me interested in working in co-classes and helping students who need extra help.

5)I would WILL other teachers the attitude that it is an honor to called to teach.

Nic Simmons, NCHS Special Education & Drama Director

Nic Simmons, 41 years, NCHS Special Education & Drama Director

1.  I have worked in the field of Special Education since the ’86-’87 school year, first as a teacher at Parkview and NCHS, then as a Behavioral Consultant for the district, Then as a teacher at the Alternative School (North Campus), and finally as a teacher/ department head of Special Education at the high school.  I have also been a director/producer of the Drama Program at the high school for over 30 years.

2.  I plan to pursue teaching at the college level next year, focusing on special education at Ball State University.  I also plan to travel the world with my wife, Eva.

3.  My toughest challenge in teaching has always been keeping afloat on the sea of paperwork required of special education teachers…

4.  My greatest success has always centered on my students.  I am so proud of the achievements made by two generations of students in this community.

5.  I would will the new generation of teachers with the absolute joy I have had as a teacher.  It’s been a wonderful life!

Also Retiring from NCCSC:

Although these individuals did not get to finish the ’22-’23 school year with us, they have served faithfully and wholeheartedly. Thank you, world-changers, for your years of service and dedication.

Jamie Antic, Middle School, English, 32 years

Julie Brammer, Elementary, 24 years

Nancy Conway, Counselor, 19 years

Cindy Linder, Special Education, 19 years

Tina York, Special Education, 19 years