Salina beckons veteran LHS teacher
When the final bell rings in Lansing schools Dec. 21, it will send many students and teachers out the doors hastily, eager to begin their winter break.
But Tracy Hutton's departure that day likely will be somewhat subdued as she also leaves her job at Lansing High School.
Hutton, a history teacher, accepted a job with the Salina school district and will begin her duties there Jan. 3. She started looking for a job after her husband received a job offer in Salina.
"I never thought that I would leave before Mr. Logue," said Hutton, referring to social studies teacher and track and cross country coach Errol Logue, whose tenure at LHS spans 38 years.
"I've had a great time here," she said. "This is my seventh year, and it's the only place I've ever taught, so it will be a little sad.
"I've had a lot of fun. I really bonded with the kids, and I'll really, really miss them, more than anything else."
During winter break, Hutton will relocate to Salina with son Michael, a fifth-grader at Lansing Intermediate School, daughter Kerrigan, 4, and husband Chris.
But until then, they're staying at a hotel because their house in Fawn Valley sold on its first day on the market.
Although staying at a hotel for a month will be cramped and inconvenient, Hutton said, everything is falling into place for the family.
"I didn't think I'd be able to find a job in the middle of the school year, but I did. And in fact, I found a dream job," Hutton said.
As a curriculum technologist for the Salina school district, Hutton will help teachers implement technology in their classrooms.
Although she's excited about her new job, leaving LHS won't be easy for Hutton.
"Closer to the time, I'll be pretty sad to leave, but it's a good move for my family," she said.
At the Lansing School Board's monthly meeting Nov. 13, the board unanimously approved Hutton's request to be released from employment at the conclusion of the first semester without penalty.
"I was glad that they were gracious enough to let me out of my contract, because they didn't have to," she said.
Hutton said she would most miss interacting with her students, who have provided her with plenty of light moments throughout her career.
"I won't get to finish writing my book," she joked. "I always tease the kids that when I retire, I'm going to write a book called, 'The Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Say as a High School Teacher.'"
Examples include, "Girls, quit cleaning yourselves with (Formula) 409," and "Quit licking the wall."
Hutton said she would leave Lansing with warm memories of the relationships she built at LHS with students and their parents.
"I've always said what keeps me going is that I got to have a little piece of their lives," she said. "I look back to my teachers, and they're still in my memory, they're still in my lives, and to know that that's me for somebody else is humbling."