- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
After 39 years as an elementary school teacher in St. Mary’s County, next week will bring Howard Hyman’s last day of school.
The last day for students this year is today, Friday. Teachers stay on an extra week this year, and Hyman is retiring.
Ridge Elementary School students and staff, where Hyman has taught for most of his career, said they will most miss Hyman’s funky ties and hats.
“I like the fact that this is a very stable school” in terms of both staff and the community, Hyman said.
After four decades of teaching, he began seeing the same last names over and over again. Lately, he usually has had at least a couple students in class whose parents were once in his tutelage.
“I like that continuity, the small-school feel,” he said.
Hyman was finishing up his degree at Towson State College, which is now Towson University, in 1972 and began applying for a teaching job.
“Wherever the first call came from, I was going to take it,” he said. That call came from St. Mary’s County, and by the fall of 1973 he landed a job at Mechanicsville Elementary School.
Two years later he was at White Marsh Elementary School, and then was transferred to Ridge Elementary in 1976, where he has been ever since.
Most of his time has been spent in a third-grade classroom. “Their curiosity is fun,” he said.
Originally from Rockville, St. Mary’s County was a big adjustment for Hyman, at first.
He said that he can remember 39 years ago going to lunch with teaching colleagues. “The transplants would get served last,” he said with a smile, referring to himself and any other newcomers to the county.
On Wednesday, the school staff presented Hyman with a painting by Spring Ridge Middle School art teacher April Ryan.
While he has felt welcomed and part of the county, he plans to move somewhere closer to a city where there are more amenities.
Elaine Lang, secretary to the principal of Oakville, is also retiring after 39 years of service, although she plans to stay in St. Mary’s County where she was born and raised. She and Hyman are among the 38 St. Mary’s school employees retiring this year.
Lang started her career at Ridge Elementary School in 1973. Some years earlier, she was among the first group of sixth-grade students at the then-new Ridge Elementary School.
She said that as a home-school aide at Ridge, she remembers a young teacher coming on board a few years later named Howard Hyman.
“We were there a good while together,” she said, adding that it was nice to stand next to him Tuesday evening at a retiree recognition ceremony held at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center.
Hyman said he found the “full circle” of the pair’s career fascinating.
Lang eventually transferred to Park Hall Elementary School for a few years before becoming secretary at Oakville Elementary School, where she stayed for the next 23 years.
“I’ve had quite a good time this past few weeks,” Lang said. Students and staff at the school sang songs and offered gifts to her and fellow Oakville retiree Donald “Mr. Big Bear” Irving, who has been driving buses for St. Mary’s public schools since 1991, and that was after retiring from serving 25 years as a federal firefighter.
Some of her coworkers and friends arranged for Lang to throw out the first pitch at Sunday’s Blue Crabs baseball game.
Lang, who now resides in Great Mills, said she is looking forward to spending time with her new great-grandchild, as well as her 12 grandchildren and three children.
“I just love the kids and that’s the best part,” Lang said of her time at Oakville. She said she plans to join the school’s PTA and is looking forward to seeing the renovations at the school that are under way.
The work at Oakville is scheduled to be complete this summer, and when school reopens in August the school will feature a new parking lot and bus loop, new playground equipment, upgraded windows and new central air and heating.
St. Mary’s public schools this year enrolled the highest number of students ever. Superintendent Michael Martirano said that by the middle of the school year, enrollment passed 17,000 students.
The county’s three public high schools combined this spring graduated 1,242 seniors this year, beating last year’s record for the highest number to graduate.
St. Mary’s public schools will reopen to students in just over 10 weeks for the next school year on Aug. 22.
Debra Roberts, special education, Great Mills High, 15 years; Patti George, teacher, Town Creek Elementary, 26; Eric Shane Turpin, building service, Green Holly Elementary, 6; John Lynch, trades teacher, Forrest center, 16; Gail Tyler, music teacher, Dent Elementary, 35; Melinda Brown, coordinator, 12; Deborah Dean, teacher, Chopticon High, 14; Roxanne Kastner, teacher, Dent Elementary, 35; Howard Hyman, teacher, Ridge Elementary, 39; Jeanette Johnson, teacher, Spring Ridge Middle, 31; Janice Foster, teacher, Hollywood Elementary,25; Charles Connor, teacher, Leonardtown High, 18; Catherine Kennedy, teacher, Margaret Brent Middle, 32; Lynne Morgan Smoot, supervisor of fine arts, 15, Sharon Weiner, teacher, Town Creek Elementary, 32; Donna Pearson, music teacher, White Marsh Elementary, 34; Catherine Pielmeier, art teacher, Piney Point Elementary, 32; Jean Oates, teacher, Spring Ridge Middle, 14; Mary Elam, building service, Leonardtown Elementary, 34; Elaine Lang, secretary, Oakville Elementary, 39; Lea Scott, special education, Benjamin Banneker Elementary, 20; Kathleen Trolinger, paraprofessional, Benjamin Banneker Elementary, 16; Raymond Torgerson, JROTC teacher, Chopticon High, 8; Barbara Baker, special education, Margaret Brent Middle, 29; Francis Buckler, building service, Dent Elementary, 33; William Quade, plumber, 29; Dorothy Ryce, kindergarten para, Dent Elementary, 39, James (Danny) Johnson, building specialist, 35; Elizabeth Clements, food service, Esperanza Middle, 7; Shirley Dorrell, food service, Leonardtown High, 6; James Price, building service, Spring Ridge Middle, 24; Roy Cutchember, building service, Leonardtown High, 13; Judy (Morazes) Pulvirenti, special education, Leonardtown Middle, 22; Ann Haines, teacher, Green Holly Elementary, 15; Sue Packman, special education, Dent Elementary, 3; Joan Tippett, kindergarten para, Carver Elementary, 25; Nancy Etrata, nurse, Great Mills High, 11.5; Ilma-Clio Trybus, paraeducator, Carver Elementary, 10.