The Next Chapter

North Polk Educators on Retirement

From left to right are Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Kunzman and Mrs. Yoakum.

From left to right are Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Kunzman and Mrs. Yoakum.

Zoe Marquez, Editor

This year, North Polk will say farewell and wish a pleasant retirement to three long-time educators: Kelly Kunzman, Jeannie Williams and Brenda Yoakum.

Kunzman has taught for 31 years, serving 16 of those years at North Polk. She has held positions such as Language Arts, Social Studies, and furthermore started a reading program for the middle school at North Polk. Her position for the past nine years as an Instructional Coach entailed teaching training, staff development and support and more. In regards to what she is looking forward to during retirement she stated “being to do whatever, whenever.”

When asked what she will miss the most about her role as an educator at North Polk she expressed she would “miss being a part of something.” This something to her being the relationships with staff and students throughout her years teaching.

Williams throughout her career has been an instructor in positions from middle school to positions in the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), mainly in Family Consumer Science and Home Economics. With 40 years in education and 10 years in North Polk come upon unintentionally, she expressed she appreciated the relationships with other teachers and the overall community of staff, parents and students at North Polk and will miss it. In regards to her retirement, Williams expressed that she would not miss the responsibility of grading the students nor having to cancel plans due to having to do school work.

Williams stated that in her new freetime she would continue her hobbies such as sewing, woodburning and part time baking for others. She will continue to spend time at the Center Grove Orchard where students can continue to visit. “I’ll be there more during the week and weekend,” stated Williams.

Yoakum, over her 33 years of education, has held positions in English, Spanish and being a cheerleading coach. With 23 years at North Polk, she created the first DMACC credit enrollment with her teaching the first DMACC Composition I and II for many years before stepping out of the classroom and becoming an Instructional Coach. Yoakum conveyed that throughout her years at the district she explained that both the staff and students have a “tight-knit” sense of community, as well as the respect shown, are things that set North Polk apart from other districts. 

“It’s [the North Polk district] got something special that’s hard to pinpoint, but it’s something special,” expressed Yoakum. During her retirement, Yoakum plans to take time to do things like practicing yoga, journaling, reading and travel around the United States in her R.V.

While it is sad that these valued and respected educators will not be present in the building, their spirits, charisma and mark has been made in the minds of so many. Make sure to wish them a happy retirement and the appreciation for their work with the North Polk Comets students and staff.