The Edmond Sun

Education

May 12, 2014

Retiring Edmond teacher dedicates 38 years to 1 site

EDMOND — Edmond Public School’s teacher Carol Stolfa began teaching in the mid-1970s before the Reading Sufficiency Act, before Common Core, before the No Child Left Behind Act, before Smart Boards and smart phones and before the Columbine shooting.

Teaching is in Stolfa’s blood. Her mother was a teacher in the Oklahoma City Public Schools system and an aunt taught at U.S. Grant.

“I really love working with kids,” Stolfa said Monday afternoon, as the calendar advanced another day toward the end of the school year. She was in her second-grade Orvis Risner classroom sifting through items she will either take home, discard or pass on to her successor. “They are just the most innocent creatures there are. Whatever they think comes out their mouth. And they just want to be loved.”

During her Edmond Public Schools career — Stolfa has served the community entirely at Orvis Risner Elementary School — some things have changed a lot. Some have not, like her passion for teaching and the moment a student “gets it.” She has gone through two generations of students, about seven principals and at least 20 students in each class. A former student is a school physical education teacher.

Second graders are like “little sponges,” Stolfa said. Every year there are several students who just can’t get enough instruction.

“They’d stay until 5 o’clock if I were to keep going,” she said as the sound of excited little voices echoed down the hall outside her classroom.  

Part of what has kept her loving her job is the variety of achievers she has seen, which ranges from those who don’t need a lot of instruction due to their learning level and those who are afraid they are not going to measure up.

“You teach them, ‘I believe in you. I know you can do this’ and you see them change throughout the year. That is such a joy,” Stolfa said.

Orvis Risner’s mission statement is “to foster citizenship, leadership and scholarship in a safe and positive environment.” Stolfa said when she started, teachers didn’t have all the help they do today. Now there are more resources, specialized teachers and the Edmond Public Schools Foundation. Testing helps identify student instruction needs, Stolfa said.

Edmond Public Schools is a district that stands behind its teachers, Stolfa said. She said an example is the frequent visits Superintendent David Goin makes to the site. He will stick his head in through her classroom door or have lunch with the students.

Stolfa said she is looking forward to spending her retirement working part-time for a church, traveling, doing yard work and reading. At her job, she will still get to use some of her teaching skills.

Stolfa offered some advice to future teachers. She said teachers have to really love and enjoy working with children. They aren’t going to get rich teaching. They will have long hours. They make sacrifices like doing things at home for the classroom.

“If you don’t really love it then you’re not going to last because it’s just too hard these days,” Stolfa said.

Many other teachers and staff members are retiring from Edmond Public Schools. Only one other teacher in the Edmond district retiring this year has taught longer than Stolfa — Jan Smith, a vocal music teacher, who is leaving Memorial High School. Two others join Stolfa in having dedicated 38 years to education — Becki Teague, who works at the administration center, and Mike Jenkins, a social studies teacher at North High School.

“I would like to extend sincere appreciation to retiring certified and support employees who, collectively, have dedicated well over 1,000 years of service to this school community,” Goin said. “Each has made a significant contribution to the overall success of Edmond Public Schools, and we are better for having had the privilege of working alongside them. We wish them hearty congratulations as they enter the next phase of their lives.”

Likewise, teachers are retiring from Deer Creek Public Schools.

“We celebrate the work and achievements of our retiring teachers,” Deer Creek Superintendent Ranet Tippens said. “Again, we hate to see them go and yet we are happy about the blessings the future holds for them and their families.”

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121 ext. 108

1
Text Only
Education
  • UCO forensic volunteer wants to aid more agencies

    A four-person group of forensic investigators who volunteer their time to help smaller Oklahoma police departments isn’t enough to meet demand, a member said.
    Kama King, who recently completed her graduate research and will be a member of the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute, said outside of full-time jobs, members of the group volunteer to assist these agencies.
    As her career progresses, King hopes to help establish a permanently funded organization available to any agency in the state to assist in remains recovery as well as related training.

    July 29, 2014

  • UCO announces Spring 2014 Honor Roll students

    The University of Central Oklahoma recently announced the students named to the university honor rolls, a distinction given to those who achieve the highest academic standards.
    For the spring 2014 semester, 1,073 students made the President’s Honor Roll, an honor achieved by those who recorded a “straight-A” or 4.0 GPA.

    July 28, 2014

  • 11.6.12 Mother and Cub (2).jpg UCO forensic researcher answers key question

    After working a few human recovery cases on a volunteer basis with a variety of police departments, a question kept bugging Kama King.
    “You spend the whole day,” the UCO W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute student said, “sometimes days, searching for someone and only find a skull or a few bones and it just ate at me. Are we not finding this or is it not there to be found?”

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Edmond Youth Chorus auditions begin Monday

    The Fine Arts Institute of Edmond is seeking talented youth to try out for the upcoming season of the Edmond Youth Chorus.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rainbow Fleet introduces statewide child care line

    Oklahoma parents can now access a statewide program designed to provide resources and referrals for services across Oklahoma.

    July 25, 2014

  • Team Oklahoma Team Oklahoma brings home third place from NTAE

    Members of Team Oklahoma competing in the National Tournament of Academic Excellence placed third at the national competition held recently in Orlando.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated

    When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
    “When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.

    July 25, 2014

  • OC welcomes missionary, military families

    For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
    The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
    The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

    July 25, 2014

  • UCO DEBATE_submitted.jpg UCO debate team succeeds at nationals

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s debate team traveled to Bloomington, Ind., at the end of March to compete in the Cross Examination Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament (CEDANCT), bringing home several awards and finishing the year ranked no. 24 in the nation.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo