SCOTTSVILLE, KY -- When school starts on August 7, veteran special educator Pat Witcher will be at home, having retired after 30 years of service.
“It’s bittersweet,” Witcher said. “I’m going to miss being in the classroom with the kids doing what God called me to do, and I’m going to miss my colleagues. I have been truly blessed to be a part of the Allen County School System. But now, I get to enjoy my family and do what I want to do.”
Witcher’s career has included teaching time at two schools. She began teaching in 1983 at Allen County-Scottsville High School. After six years, Witcher moved to James E. Bazzell Middle School where she served for 23 years. Witcher re-located to the high school last year, to cap off her career.
Her time in the special education classroom has seen many changes.
“It’s come full circle,” Witcher noted. “We have gone from teaching life skills to teaching core content. We have had ups-and-downs but there were more ups than downs.”
In addition to teaching, Witcher was also cheerleading sponsor for six years in her early days. That experience also left her with several wonderful memories.
“We weathered some storms,” Witcher said specifically speaking about a stormy night on a basketball trip. “I remember us having to stop at the Barren River Lodge due to some severe weather late one night as we were coming back from Louisville.”
Witcher’s fondest memories center on the time she spent working with her special students. She firmly believes it was a God-given role for her, both in the classroom and her work with Special Olympics.
“It was my calling,” Witcher explained. “I feel like I have touched lives. Families have become my family. I have also been involved with Special Olympics for 32 years. When Teresa Ogles passed the torch, Verna Williams and I became co-coordinators. We have seen the Special Olympics program grow and grow.”
The retiring educator also praised the principals she worked under during her 30 years.
“I have been blessed working for some good principals, starting with Bennie Keen at the high school to Tommy Keen at the middle school, Darlene Price, Rick Fisher, Melissa Towery and Brian Carter,” Witcher said. “They gave great leadership and taught me many things to make me a better teacher and a better person.”
As she steps from the classroom, Witcher offers new teachers a word of advice.
“I encourage everyone to document things because 30 years pass by quickly,” Witcher said. “You tend to forget things. I suggest they keep a journal to reflect back.”
Witcher’s retirement became official on June 30.