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Class of 2019: Celebrating New Retirees

June 25, 2019

Retirement season is here and we want to congratulate and celebrate the more than 3,600 teachers that are retiring at the end of the school year.

If you’re joining the Class of 2019 retirees and have a great story that you’d like to share about your time in the classroom, email us at member_communications@otpp.com

Shelley Zeeb, Thames Valley District School Board
Number of years as a teacher: 27

Shelley Zeeb has been running the social justice and environmental clubs at her school for years. Along with students and fellow teachers, Shelley has helped raise more than $100,000 throughout her teaching career for various charities, including Right to Play, Reforest London, We, Humane Society, and Operation Smile.  Most recently, she helped her students raise more than $2,000 for Ryan’s Well, which together with local partners, provides access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education in the poorest regions of developing countries.

What I'll miss most about teaching:
"I will miss inspiring students to become passionate about something and make a difference, to teach them about an issue and have them want to make things right or at least make the world a little more fair. To care about others and our environment. To inspire kids to love something, whether it be reading or poetry or art, or just believing in themselves."

Marilyn Campbell, Grand Erie District School Board
Number of years as a teacher: 30

Marilyn Campbell would bring her certified therapy dogs into the classroom to help her students de-stress before exams. Students enjoyed a little cuddling, the distraction, and the warmth of a dog’s happiness to take the edge off their exams.

What I'll miss most about teaching:
"The kids. They keep me young and laughing. I’ll miss the opportunity to see the students finally “get it.” When they finally understand something they’ve been struggling with, it’s such a proud moment!"

Karen Pincombe, Thames Valley District School Board
Number of years as a teacher: 25

“Mrs. Pincombe is patient, passionate, amazing, and always has cool earrings.” This is just a few ways a group of grade four students described their teacher.

Music teacher Karen Pincombe, is known throughout her community for her dedication to the arts. So much so that her students and fellow staff members rallied together to help her become the recipient of the first-ever CBC London ‘Youknow’ Award for Best Music Teacher.

She’s hosted more than 15 musicals, plays, and concerts, and even founded Arts For All Kids, a not-for-profit that provides free fine arts exposure for London-area youth who are otherwise unable to afford private arts and music lessons.

What I'll miss most about teaching:
"I think what I will miss most is leading the kids in performances: choirs, band, school shows, Kiwanis Arts Festival, assemblies, fundraisers and even recorders. The kids are always up for a challenge and when in front of an audience, they come to life in a way that only performing live (with your parents watching!) can create. They have been wonderful to work with and I will miss their infectious joy, smiles and laughter."

Allison O’Connor, Thames Valley District School Board
Number of years as a teacher: 31

Known for being a safe spot, a spot where all student voices could be heard, the music division is a big part of Bonaventure Meadows Public School thanks to many teachers including, Allison O’Connor. Allison is the vocal and instrumental music teacher at the London, Ontario school. She began the tradition of annual Broadway-style shows which involved so many staff, students and community members.

Outside of the traditional classroom, Allison and her son are heavily involved in the Special Olympics, as a soccer manager and athlete, respectively. She also started Dreams Come True Music Studio, a place where individuals of all abilities would have the opportunity to experience music in an inclusive environment.

What I'll miss most about teaching:
"I will miss the extracurricular choirs and bands. I so enjoy the connection music makes with students of all abilities. The growth in self-esteem is spectacular. The experiences performing will always remain in my heart. We were a team!"

If you have a story you'd like to share, email us at member_communications@otpp.com