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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, January 12, 2017, Pages 1 & 10

Longtime school staffers announce retirements

The Mount Ayr Community schools are faced with the challenge of replacing over 70 years of combined experience following action at the regular meeting of the board of education's regular meeting Monday, January 9.

Expressing their deep appreciation for their many years of service, the Mount Ayr board accepted the resignations of elementary secretary Cindy Stephens, high school science teacher, Fay Howie and 7-12 principal Lynne Wallace.

Stephens and Howie were both hired in the 1985-86 school year and each will have completed 32 years in the Mount Ayr schools at the end of this school term.

Wallace has spent 10 years in the district, serving as both an elementary and middle/high school principal.

All three qualify for the district's early retirement announcement incentive.

With the submission of her resignation at Monday's school board meeting, Mount Ayr 7-12 principal Lynne Wallace brings to a close a career in education that spans four decades.

After graduating in 1981 with a degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa. Wallace began her teaching career in the Hartley-Melvin school district where she spent her first four years. In her first year she and another teacher were responsible for developing that district's first all-day kindergarten program.

In 1985 she moved to the BGM (Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcolm) school district where she taught first grade for nine years. Her first year at B-G-M she met another new teacher in the district, Kurt Wallace, who soon became her husband. Kurt Wallace currently teaches math and industrial tech in Mount Ayr.

Beginning in the 1994-95 school year Wallace taught fourth grade in the Green Mountain-Garwin school district. During her nine years at GMG, she obtained her elementary administration degree at UNI.

Seeking a new challenge, Wallace was hired as the elementary principal at Bedford in 2003, a position she held for four years.

She moved to Mount Ayr in 2007 to assume the elementary principal's position. During that four-year tenure she continued her education, obtaining certification as a principal in grades Pre-K through 12 and as a director of special education.

When the Mount Ayr 7-12 principal resigned in October 2011, Wallace assumed duties as K-12 principal for the remainder of that school year.

With the hiring of Chris Elwood as elementary principal the following year, Wallace retained the position of 7-12 principal, a position she had enjoyed for the past five years.

"It's been enjoyable working with wonderful teachers who are willing to go the extra mile," she said of her time in Mount Ayr.

She said she has gained a unique insight from her [Page 10] transition from an elementary principal to a middle and high school principal.

"Some of these kids I've been around for 10 years," she said. "It's exciting to see their growth, their progress and the obstacles some of them have overcome."

She attributes much of that credit to the "caring, wonderful adults" at both the elementary and middle/high school buildings.

"I've always said middle school and high school students have the same needs as elementary students - they're just taller," she said. "They need structure, support and caring."

Of her years at the secondary level, Wallace says she is most proud of all the efforts to help students to succeed. During her tenure she has organized tutoring sessions, study skills, seminars, obtained educational software and developed other plans aimed at assisting and supporting struggling students.

She also is proud of the newly-instituted Teacher Leadership program that she says provides support for teachers that they need as well.

Following the conclusion of her contracted duties in June, what's next for Wallace?

"I'm not one to just sit around," she said. I want to do the things I love. I love to read, and I might volunteer to work at the library. I'll work with students at the elementary and high school if they need my help."

Helping students succeed ... just as she has for the past 36 years.

[Features on Cindy Stephens and Fay Howie, two long-time Mount Ayr Community employees
who also announced their retirements recently, will appear in future issues of the Record-News.]

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 02, 2017, Page 1

Stephens retiring after 32 years with MACS
By Chanse Hall

Just around 1985, a graduate and resident of Mount Ayr was looking for employment when a job opened at the Mount Ayr community elementary school. Cindy Stephens had kids of her own and lived right across the street from the school so that enticed her to apply for the position. Thirty-two years later she has decided to hang it up for good so she can spend time with her grandchildren who are now participating in extra curricular activities in other school systems.

Stephens is the one of the first faces to greet you when you walk into the elementary school and also one of the first people the children are greeted by when they have to leave early for school, see the nurse or even the principal, Mr. Elwood.

She reflected on how great it was to be a part of the kids' lives and watch them grow throughout the years and to get to know so many great families.

"I enjoy the kids, it's why I love this job and why I have stayed so long," said Stephens. "The kids can be frustrating, but they are still great."

Starting the job in 1985 means Stephens also got a unique view of technology throughout the years.

"I was the first one to have a Mac computer in the school system. I believe it was the Apple II," reflected Stephens. "When they first came in, I didn't know up from down, but I learned how to use them as time went on."

Stephens recently received a newer Mac that is so small it can fit inside a woman's purse.

Education has also evolved since she first started, with things now becoming more test and goal oriented, which Stephens stressed wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"They do their best to help every kid succeed," she said.

One of the biggest changes for the elementary was the new addition that was added on after the old building that was once the high school and then housed the sixth grade classes and lunch room/gym had to be torn down. The old building had flooded with everything still in it, and she got a call early in the morning from her brother Clint, a custodian in the Mount Ayr schools. Cindy threw on some clothes and went to help remove the objects from the flooded building.

"I walked in and the whole place was just flooded," Stephens recalled. "Any where you stepped there was water."

The community came to help the school district and eventually the new addition was built and got up and running.

Stephens doesn't have any big plans after leaving the school other than be more involved with her grandchildren's activities and hopefully the community.

Through her 32 years of service to the school, she has seen many faces come and go, countless kids go on to succeed, six bosses and multiple technological upgrades.

"I wish everyone the best and will miss working with all of them," said Stephens. "I also want to wish the best to the next person to fill the position."

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 16, 2017, Page 1

Howie to retire from MACS after decades of service
By Chanse Hall

In 1974., three days before her wedding date and one week after graduating college, Fay Howie started teaching in Grant City before coming to Mount Ayr. Forty-three years later, Howie is retiring.

In Grant City, Howie taught for four years before becoming a stay-at-home mother to her new baby. She still substituted from time to time and worked in her dad's office every now and then.

Six years later, her late husband Terry suggested she start teaching once again. Howie took a job in Diagonal for the 1984-85 school year. She came to Mount Ayr directly after that when the science teacher in Mount Ayr was offered a job as a principal.

Throughout her career, Howie has seen things change, from curriculum to technology. The types of experiments that teachers are allowed to do have changed as well. The state has taken a lot of chemicals from high schools for safety reasons, which has had the biggest impact.

Chemistry is her favorite subject to teach. "Chemistry is like a new language," said Howie. "With physics and physical science it is more practical. The kids that grow up on farms are very familiar with how it all works, maybe not the terms but how things work."

One memory that stands out the most to her was a student had cleaned up acid with a cotton ball and apparently missed the waste basket. It landed on the radiator and a student had then sat down. The acid ate a hole in her pants. The student wasn't hurt other than a slightly burned rear end.

Another memory came from when they used to take science trips and this particular trip went to Chicago. Shaun Kniep almost was left behind because she had to take a trip to the restroom. Luckily they were able to locate her and the crisis was averted.

"I've had an awesome career," Howie reflected. "I've learned a tremendous amount and I love teaching high school kids. Just remember to use the resources and tools God gave you."

Reasons she has loved teaching, other than the students, is she has been allowed vacations with her family and raise them during the summer.

"Teaching has allowed me to stay young but also turned me gray!" she quipped.

Howie has decided to retire so someone can come in with fresh ideas. She mentioned she was just enough tech savvy to get by and the state is looking at new standards for science, and while she has worked through many standards for science, and while she has worked through many standards changes before, she feels it is time for her to move over.

Howie plans on spending time with her mother-in-law and her grandchildren in retirement.

"Anyone who likes kids and can give them a moral compass to follow will enjoy this occupation," she said.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 16, 2017, Page 6

Crystal Storoff
By Jacob Garrett

Crystal Storhoff is a kindergarten teacher at Mount Ayr Elementary School. She is married [long time MACHS band instructor Greg Storhoff] and has three kids, Vanessa, Tim and Garrett, as well as four grand kids Byanca, Angelina, Shaylinn and Jett.

Mrs. Storhoff began teaching back in 1981 at Binford, North Dakota. The reason she wanted to become an educator was because she noticed at a young age that kids were drawn to her and she loved being around them, so she knew that teaching would be a good fit.

A typical day for Mrs. Storhoff is very busy because they switch lessons every 30 minutes. She has a lot of planning that she has to do to make sure everything gets accomplished.

Her fondest memory of teaching is when Tucker Knox made her a paper birthday cake. One of the craziest times she's had teaching was when she told students that she was afraid of spiders, and many students showed up the next day with jars of bugs in them.

What Mrs. Storhoff enjoys most about her job is the hugs she receives from the students, along with working with them. If Mrs. Storhoff had to choose a different profession she would go in to daycare, so that she could still be with children.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, May 11, 2017, Page 1

MACS honors retirees

Five long-time employees of the Mount Ayr Community School District were recognized as Friday's staff appreciation breakfast. They include (L-R) paraprofessional Elaine Willis (15 years), elementary secretary Cindy Stephens (32 years), elementary and secondary principal Lynne Wallace (10 years) and elementary teacher Crystal Storhoff (five years). Science teacher Fay Howie (32 years), pictured at right, was absent attending a funeral during Friday's event.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, July & September of 2017

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