This is part of a series highlighting educators who will retire this school year.
In spite of the world crisis, life goes on, and FortScott.Biz will continue to feature stories of local interest.
Karen Mix, 61, 30-year kindergarten teacher at West Bourbon Elementary School is retiring.
“I have been blessed to work at the USD 235 district,” Mix said.
She substituted in the district for three years, taught fifth-grade for one year, then began her career in kindergarten.
“There is so much satisfaction in teaching kindergarten,” Mix said. “It is amazing what these little ones can achieve in a year. The gains they make in knowledge, self-confidence, and social skills…I have gone to work to do a job that I love to do! I have been able to sing, dance, laugh and have snacks every day! Plus, I have actually gotten paid to do it! I can only hope that I have touched my students’ lives in as many ways as they have mine.”
” I felt it was important to teach kindness and respect for each other,” she said. ” We said the Golden Rule every day, I always told them that it was not just a 5-year-olds rule but a rule for all your life!
I think sometimes a kindergarten teacher’s role in a child’s life is not always understood by many people. Many times I have been the first role model they have met since leaving their parents. I have so many roles in class…drying tears, hugging fears away, fixing girls hair, zipping, tying shoes, teaching them to look, listen, learn and have fun. It has been a crazy ride and I have loved every minute of it!!!
Mix received her education from Fort Scott High School, Fort Scott Community College, then Pittsburg State University and finally Walden University where she earned her Masters Degree in Reading.
Her second-grade teacher who became her aunt, Hazel Ploeger, inspired her to teach, she said.
Her hometown is Independence, Mo. but she moved to Fort Scott, when 17 years old.
Mix married her husband, Mike, at 19 years old and they bought the farm they have lived on since.
“We have two sons, Evan married to Marci, one grandson, and twins due in April. And our youngest son, Matthew.”
Mix has been involved in her community as a member of the Fulton United Methodist Church.
One of the greatest challenges in teaching for Mix was keeping up with the many changes that the state requires of schools, she said.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my husband and my grandchildren,” she said.