Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sandee Blakeley retires after 34 years

When Sandee Blakeley first began her teaching career at Baldwin-Woodville in 1977, she was hired as a half-time reading teacher at Greenfield Elementary. She had four years of teaching experience in southern Wisconsin after earning her degree from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in 1972. Sandee eventually taught kindergarten, third grade and will end her career at fourth grade this spring.

"I guess I really enjoy the fourth graders the most," Blakeley said, "you can talk to them more like an adult, and they're much more independent than the younger ones."

Blakeley was married in 1976 to the business director for the River Falls School District, so when a position became available in Baldwin in 1977, she took it.

"One of my favorite memories in teaching is the April Fool's joke we played on the fourth graders," Blakeley said. "We told them they all needed to have spring fever shots." The school nurse was in on the prank, so when the students were lined up for their "shots" the nurse presented the biggest syringe she could find.

"I don't think my mom wants me to have this shot," said several of the wide-eyed students. But the teachers assured them that the proper papers were signed and they all needed the shots.

"April Fool's!" said the teachers, much the relief of the students.

Blakeley has a lifelong interest in the arts, which she plans to actively pursue in retirement, she said. "I plan to be involved in the River Falls Theater group and I would like to take painting lessons." She is interested in pursuing work doing voice-overs for film or radio and also recording books-on-tape.

"I think I'll volunteer at the library for story-times, too," she said.

Blakeley also said she is considering working as a medical transcriptionist. "I received some training in the medical field before I got my teaching degree, so the interest has always been there."

"Of course, my husband and I will try to travel more, maybe even spending part of the year in Mexico," Blakeley said. Her husband retired six years ago from 3M.

The Blakeleys have two daughters, one of whom is being married this October and is a nurse at Children's Hospital. Their other daughter is pursuing a career as a school counselor.