School district recognizes 101 years of teaching


By Anne Campbell

Superintendent, Portola Valley School District.

The Portola Valley School District recently honored a distinguished group of retirees: Barbara Gardyn, Ormondale kindergarten teacher; Norma Remke, Corte Madera resource specialist; and Jean Turri, Ormondale third-grade teacher.

Together, these ladies have amassed over 101 years of teaching. That's a lot of Back-to-School Nights, parent conferences, report cards, and lesson planning.

Barbara Gardyn began her teaching career in Rochester, New York, where she taught second grade. After moving to California, teaching in South San Francisco, and raising a family (including Ormondale teacher Deena Bertolina), Ms. Gardyn joined the Portola Valley School District in 1996, where she has happily taught kindergarten ever since.

An ardent advocate for developmentally appropriate school curriculum, especially for our youngest students, Ms. Gardyn has served in a leadership role in the California Kindergarten Association. She has been a vital link to the world of school for students and parents alike, as they have transitioned from home and preschool to the world of Ormondale and elementary school.

Room 8 will certainly miss Ms. Gardyn's buoyant personality and knowledge of kindergarten when school opens in August, but three adorable grandchildren await!

Norma Remke actually began her career in the Portola Valley district as a parent, being an active member of the PTA while her own children attended district schools. She enjoyed the district experience so much, that she joined the staff in 1985.

Anyone who wanders around the Corte Madera campus after school will often find Ms. Remke working late into the evening, making sure that when her students arrive at school the next day they have lessons that are well-prepared and educational experiences that are relevant to their specific learning needs.

A Michigan native, Ms. Remke is a loyal fan of all the Detroit teams. As she retires to pursue exciting new life adventures, she gives up the No. 1 spot on the district Teacher Seniority List to someone else.

When Ormondale clapped-out its third-graders on June 11, Jean Turri ran through the halls one last time with her graduating class. This year, though, she ran not only into the bliss of summer, but also into the joys of retirement.

Ms. Turri has been a teacher for 41 consecutive years, and has served students in the Laguna Salada, Burlingame, Hillsborough, and Portola Valley school districts. She is known throughout the Peninsula as an accomplished mathematics instructor, mentor, and presenter, so we count ourselves very lucky to have had her services as a teacher in Portola Valley for the past 11 years.

As an individual who loves to stay busy and try new things, in her retirement Jean will undoubtedly continue her Zumba studies, make many trips to Apple's Genius Bar, and discover new worlds to conquer.

The Portola Valley School District wishes this fine trio of retirees well as they head off to the adventures that retirement holds in store for them. A most happy and well-deserved retirement to Barbara Gardyn, Norma Remke and Jean Turri.

Anne Campbell is superintendent of the Portola Valley School District.

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