Karen Wallace, math teacher at Buffalo Island Central West 4-6 grade, will be retiring at the end of the school year with 29 years in the classroom. She did her practice teaching at Monette but there was not an opening her first year. She went to Blytheville for a year and returned to Monette/BIC where she spent 28 years.
"This has been a good place to work," she said. "Staying 28 years tells what I think of the school system."
She is married to Mike Wallace, and she plans to help in the office on the family farm. Their son, Bradley, farms with them. Their daughter, Kimberly, graduated from college in May and will be getting married in November to Todd Baumgartner of Edwardsville, Ill.
Mrs. Wallace graduated from Caraway High School in 1979 and finished college in three years and started her career as a teacher.
"I've always loved the kids and I will miss them but I am ready to start another chapter in my life," she said. "We have a good town and we have a good school. For a population of our size we have seen a lot of our students go on to become doctors, lawyers, and other professionals."
She will be busy working with the family farm and spending more time at their lake home at Mountain Home. She plans to do volunteer work at her church, The First Baptist Church in Monette. She also serves as a teacher at the church.
She said she has never been retired so she is going to wait and see what the days bring.
She has seen a lot of curriculum changes in her 29 years. The students are more required in skills. They have gone to keeping up with state standards to keeping up with national standards. In addition to the curriculum the technology is a big change, Mrs. Wallace said.
"We have grafting calculators, smart boards and so much more to work with," she said.
"I think our students here are well prepared for the challenges ahead. There is always room for improvement but overall our students do well. Parents work with us. It is very important for parents to be involved in the education of their children."
She said she is thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of BIC for all these years. It will seem strange not to be there when the bell rings for the 2011-12 school year but Mrs. Wallace is ready to meet the new activities that come with retirement.