Myers Ends Education Career ... For Now

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Sue Myers is a well-known face to the hundreds of people whose lives she has touched over the years.

Myers is retiring as principal of Payson's Frontier Elementary School, closing the book on 42 years in education.

Most of those years have been spent here in the Rim country. She taught at Pine Elementary from 1972 until 1987, then served as the school's superintendent for 12 years. She has been at Frontier School for six years, helping start it and hand-picking its first staff.

This is her last week at the school, seeing its summer reading program through its conclusion.

But she is already thinking about a return to the field she loves.

Her son is a teacher in Japan and during her first year of retirement, she plans an extended visit with him and his family. Myers said she is thinking about getting a special certificate so she can substitute teach on the base while she is in Japan.

Next year, she wants to go to Mexico and become a student, joining a Spanish language immersion program.

In April, she will be on a photo safari in Africa. She put in the opening bid for the trip at a Safari Club fund-raiser and won it. No one else made a bid.

The travel bug took a big bite out of Myers this past January when she spent two wonderful weeks in India.

"That's when I decided I had to step away. There isn't much time to do what I want, so I want to do it now while I can," she said.

After almost 30 years in Rim country schools, Myers said the biggest change she has seen is in the size of the schools. When she started in Pine, there were only 52 students, and Payson only had one elementary school.

"Teachers are just as dedicated as they've ever been," she said. "Working with educators is such a joy. They care about people. Parents are busier. Life has speeded up for everybody."

The decision by the Peoria school district to graduate a student who did not do her class work, as required, set education back years, Myers said.

"The Payson School Board honors its teachers and their decisions. We've been working so hard to raise standards and they've (Peoria) knocked it back," she said.

Payson has incredible educators, and the community should be proud, Myers said.

She said the thing that has changed most in education is the fact that so much more is known about how the brain works. "That has helped us all be better teachers. When I started, we didn't have a clue about the brain. Now we know it needs water to work, so every child has water at their desk. Before, students had to get permission to get a drink," Myers said.

She said after all these years, she will miss the children the most.

"Specifically their openness and their amazement about the world. It keeps all educators young. And they love so easily," she said.

Myers advice for first time teachers: "If you don't care about kids, stop now. They need to be life-long learners. So, if you don't love learning, stop now. The best way to teach is to model learning for your students. Our motto in Pine was 'There are no finish lines.'"

In addition to her travel plans, Myers plans to stay active in the Kiwanis organization and volunteer with the hospice program.

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