Sunday, April 21, 2019
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20180503 SISDRetirees

*Note: The following story has been amended to correct the name of Frank Perez. We apologize for the error*

After years of working with the district, a total of 23 staff members from the Sharyland school district-ranging from custodians, teachers and even its district superintendent-will be leaving the district at the end of the school year.

These 23 individuals were recognized by the district at its 3rd Annual Teachers of the Year and Retirees Luncheon-held Thursday, May 3 at Balli’s Social Event Center.

The luncheon recognized all the retirees as well as the teacher of the year from each of the district’s 13 campuses. Each of these teachers received a $500 check from the Sharyland Education Foundation and from there, the foundation will select the elementary and high school teacher of the year at the next school board meeting scheduled for May 29. Both of those teachers will receive a check for an additional $250.

“Words cannot begin to express the time, effort and commitment these individuals have given to the district,” Carolyn Mendiola, the district’s assistant superintendent for student services and community relations, said at the event. “This is a small token of our appreciation for everything they’ve done for our district.”

In total, all the 23 district retirees have accumulated 570 years at the district, Mendiola said. They include the district’s Human Resources Director Rosa O’Donnell, who has worked at the district for 12 years; Sharyland High School Band Instructor Neil Nelson, who has been with the district for 23 years; and Norma D. Meza, a home economics instructor who has been with the district for three decades. This makes her the teacher who is retiring with the most years spent in the district.

Also included in the retirees was District Superintendent Robert O’Connor, who announced last December that after three years with Sharyland, he is retiring due to health concerns.

All 23 of the retirees were recognized and awarded with a beach tote bag at the luncheon.

“It’s always bittersweet saying goodbye to an employee, and it’s probably more so for the employees,” Mendiola said. “I know a lot of them are reflecting and asking themselves, ‘Am I ready to retire? What will I do in the next chapter of my life?”

Frank Perez, the district’s transportation director for nearly two decades, has been with the district the longest out of the rest of the retirees. He started working for the district in 1980 in the human resource department before eventually becoming the transportation director in 2001.

“The district was so small back then,” Rodriguez, 58, said. “The district had maybe five buses and a small graduating class of 100 students compared to now with 1,000 graduating students and 82 buses it’s a big growth.”

Rodriguez said his retirement is emotional due to how long he’s been with the district.

“I just felt it was time to retire. I’ve been at it for so many years and felt I had to leave,” Rodriguez said. “That doesn’t mean I don’t have mixed emotions about leaving. I’ve spent so many years here and seeing it grow and being a part of that growth is making this an emotional departure.”

Ultimately, Mendiola said, the luncheon illustrates that the district is appreciative of the years of hard work each of these retirees have brought to the district.

“I want you all to walk away with that and remember how blessed you are every single day you touch the life of a student, principal, administrator or staff member,” Mendiola told the retirees. “Thank you for all you do.

For Norma D. Meza, the sentiment from the district is one that will always remind her of her years at Sharyland.

“I’m not really leaving the district,” Meza said. “I’m taking so many beautiful memories and loving thoughts of all my students. I cannot say enough of all the wonderful memories I’ve made here.”