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Ripon High math teacher retiring after 38 years

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POSTED March 25, 2013 1:14 a.m.

Several longtime employees of the Ripon Unified School District recently announced their retirements.

Leading the way was Ripon High math teacher Jim Tornell, who spent all 38 years of his career at his alma mater.

He joins Gary Meyers, who is chairman for the RHS science department, as educators with the longest tenure. Meyers spent the past 37 years at the high school.

“The greatest reward for me during the many years has been my time spent with students who have returned to express their appreciation for the excellent education they received from RHS,” said Meyers in his letter dated Feb. 21 submitted to the school board.

The resignations, effective at the end of this school year, were accepted at the March 11 meeting.

Tornell had mixed emotions in his farewell letter.

“I love the students at RHS, and the friendships I have made with past / current staff members (some were my students) will last a lifetime,” he said.

Another longtime teacher, Kim Johnson, is also calling it quits.

“It has been my pleasure to teach in the district for 26 years not only at Ripona but at Weston, as well,” she said in her resignation letter dated Feb. 11. “I have made many friends and had the opportunity to serve hundreds of students throughout the years.”

The board, in addition, accepted the resignations of part-time employees Amy Grajedo and Michael Tornell.

Grajedo was an instructional aide at Colony Oak School while Tornell served as custodian and bus driver for the district.

Meanwhile, several employees were granted part-time status for the 2013-14 school year, including Raquel Ramirez. She’s expecting her second child next month and was seeking to spend more time with her 1-year-old child and the arrival of the new baby.

Elizabeth Qutob, Sara Swanson and Gurmukh Singh also received part-time status for next year.

Singh is working towards completing his Masters in Applied Mathematics from California State University, East Bay in Hayward. Swanson listed family reasons – she and her husband are coordinating their work schedules in an effort to spend more time raising their children – as her reason for the reduced hours.

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