Teachers say final farewells to retiring staff members


Derek Wang

After school today, on the second to last day of school, teachers gathered in the East Atrium to say their final goodbyes to this year’s group of retiring faculty.
While eating cake and drinking punch, staff members mingled and talked to celebrate the retirement of US History teacher Doug Daniels, guidance counselor Jane Piester, media center specialist Stephanie Burk, special education specialist LeaAnn Berndt and psychological examiner Steve Wallace and wish them well in their future.
Daniels said even though he will miss the camaraderie with his fellow history teachers, he will miss working with his students the most.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with my kids here,” Daniels said. “I loved coaching the golf team and being able to teach what I love here. The kids have really shaped my life in a way.”
AP World History teacher Greg Irwin said he will miss Daniels because he respects his teaching methods and because he has a close relationship with him. Irwin said even though Daniels has only been at RBHS for three years, he will always be remembered for his friendliness and encouragement. He said Daniels, with his charismatic personality, will be remembered best as a great golf coach and a voice of reason among the staff.
“He’s not afraid to ask the question, ‘Does this really need to be changed if it’s working well?’ when we are changing things in PLT,” Irwin said. “Sometimes that’s just what you need when we are trying to change things that don’t need to be changed. He’s just easy to talk to and is a very relatable person, which is very important when you’re a coach or teacher.”
Daniels plans on taking it easy during retirement and continuing to coach the Bruin boys golf team, which just claimed its second consecutive state title. He said he thinks he may substitute for Columbia Public Schools.
Piester, on the other hand, plans on working at another full time job at the University of Missouri after her retirement from CPS. Piester said her love of helping students caused her to forego relaxation for continuing working with students.
“Before I was a counselor, I was a social worker, so I’ve just always been helping people,” Piester said. “I had this opportunity to tie my background in social work with my counseling background at the university, so I took it.”
Irwin believes wherever and whatever the retirees decide to do, their legacy at RBHS has already been established. Irwin thinks that students and staff will remember all of the retiring teachers with fondness and respect.
“Their honesty and integrity will always be their defining characteristics,” Irwin said. “I think that whatever they do, they will be respected and that we are lucky to have had them here at RBHS.”
By Derek Wang