Three John Stewart teachers retiring

By on June 4, 2010

Three individuals have long history with Kaneland School Dist.
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Three fourth-grade teachers from John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn are leaving Kaneland School District this month, Suzanne Girsch, Andrea Zietlow and Barbara Romack, who all were honored with a retirement reception at the Town & Country Public Library in Elburn on Wednesday.

• Suzanne Girsch
Girsch graduated from Western Illinois University in 1974 and began her 34-year career as a teacher’s aide in St. Charles and a substitute teacher in the Fox Valley. She started at Kaneland as a part-time fifth-grade teacher at the Elburn Elementary School, (now the Elburn & Countryside Community Center) in 1976.

“I tell my students that the building was old when I taught there and that I’m not as old as the building,” she said.

Girsch spent five years teaching fifth grade and 29 years teaching fourth grade. She chose her profession because she loves working with children. Her favorite subjects over the years were social studies and math.

Working for more than three decades in Kaneland has offered her an opportunity to teach children of her former students.

“I’ve enjoyed working in the same district for this length of time,” she said. “There are teachers teaching in our district that I taught in fourth grade.”

For her retirement, Girsch plans to travel and substitute teach.

• Andrea Zietlow
Challenge teacher Zietlow began her teaching career in 1970 in Mississippi when her husband was stationed there with the Air Force. With her husband in the military, she moved around a lot and taught in California, Ohio, Oklahoma and also spent two years living in Adana, Turkey.

In 1983, Zietlow was hired as a gifted-students teacher in Oklahoma, and gifted education then became the focus of her life’s work. While in Oklahoma, she earned her master’s degree in reading. As a gifted educator, she has worked with kindergarten through eigth-graders, presented at conferences for educators and been the course instructor for the Kane County Gifted Level I and II training.

Zietlow spent the last 17.5 years of her career at Kaneland, moving her classroom 10 times.

“Regardless of where my classroom was, however, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students, parents and teachers in the Kaneland community, ” she said.

Zietlow continued her education at Northern Illinois University, earning her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction in 1998.

During her retirement, Zietlow plans to teach part-time at the college level and travel as much as possible, starting with a trip to Egypt this summer.

She also wants to stay connected with people she has met during her years with District 302.

“Throughout my career I have constantly been on the move,” she said. “But even as I now make the move into retirement, I hope to keep in touch with the many friends I have made at Kaneland. They will forever be cherished and definitely missed.”

• Barbara Romack
Romack is retiring after 37 years with the district, spending more than 10 of those as a fourth-grade teacher at John Stewart. Romack spearheaded the district’s longstanding Young Authors program for K-8 students, through which hundreds of Kaneland students wrote their own books.

Romack began work in Kaneland in 1973, teaching third grade at Kaneville Elementary School. About 10 years later she became gifted-program teacher and coordinator for K-12.

Romack has no set plans for retirement, other than to catch up on her favorite pastime, reading and continue teaching various classes at Fermilab.