So Far, 28 Rochester School Employees Have Made Plans to Retire, Resign

Here's a list of who is finishing up this school year in Rochester.

The Rochester Board of Education approved this week 23 retirements and five resignations, mostly from teachers.

Together, the 28 school employees have almost 600 years of service in the school district.

Here's a look at who will be finishing up their last year at :


Lauren Berry, art teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Berry has been with the district since 2000.

Carol Blender, kindergarten teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Blender has been with the district since 1980.

Nancy Brandt, math teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Brandt has been with the district since 1976.

Gayle Buttrey, 5th grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Buttrey has been with the district since 1988.

Debra Clark-Vickers, language arts teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Clark-Vickers has been with the district since 1995.

Janis Houston, 4th grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Houston has been with the district since 1990.

Wendy Hutt, 2nd grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Hutt has been with the district since 1991.

Stacey Ingram, English teacher at , currently on a leave of absence, submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Ingram has been with the district since 1986.

Barbara Kranitz, 1st grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Ms. Kranitz has been with the district since 1994.

Jane Long, 3rd grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Long has been with the district since 1995.

Laura Matthews, Project Find Coordinator at the , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 15. Matthews has been with the district since 1987.

Kathryn McCurdy, 1st grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. McCurdy has been with the district since 1980.

Alice Murphy, 3rd grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Murphy has been with the district since 1990.

Al Must, Social Worker at , submitted his letter of retirement effective June 30. Must has been with the district since 1984.

Timothy Palmer, music teacher at , submitted his letter of retirement effective June 30. Palmer has been with the district since 1995.

Christine Pasternak, 4th grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Pasternak has been with the district since 1987.

Ingrid Perring, 5th grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Perring has been with the district since 1978.

Sharon Sassalos, art teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Sassalos has been with the district since 1988.

Nancy Swanson, media specialist at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Swanson has been with the district since 1994.

Paul Shinksy, math teacher at , submitted his letter of retirement effective June 30, 2012. Mr. Shinsky has been with the District since 1992.

Patricia Trinowski, 1st grade teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Trinowski has been with the district since 1992.

Mary Ward, social Studies teacher at , submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Ward has been with the district since 1991.

Ruth Warnock, art teacher at and University Hills Elementary, submitted her letter of retirement effective June 30. Warnock has been with the district since 1986.


Dawn Barger, 4th grade teacher at , currently on a leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation effective June 30.  Barger has been with the district since 2000.

Lori Giacolone, math teacher at , currently on a leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation effective June 30. Giacolone has been with the district since 2000.

Jamie Paximadis, art teacher at Hamlin Elementary, currently on a leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation effective June 30. Paximadis has been with the district since 2006.

Leslie Rosenblatt, Spanish teacher at , currently on a leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation effective April 1.  Rosenblatt has been with the district since 1996.

Juliana Wonboy, Kindergarten teacher at , submitted her letter of resignation effective June 30. Wonboy has been with the district since 1999.

Joshua Raymond April 18, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Marty, I agree that there are many underpaid teachers. I would love to see us pay good teachers what they are worth. Sadly, the standard of paying great teachers less than what they would make in the private sector and paying poor teachers more than what they would make in the private sector encourages great teachers to leave and poor teachers to stay. I give a lot of credit to the great teachers that stick it out teaching when they could make more elsewhere. However, I believe your comparison is flawed. Perhaps his entry level pay was similar, but according to CBSalary.com, Laser Beam Machine Operator average salary is only $38,133, less than a Step 0 teacher with a bachelor's degree. A Step 15 with a master's degree earns $85,574. Even the top 1% of Laser Beam Machine Operators probably won't see that salary.
Joshua Raymond April 18, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I also work in a field where skill sets and amount of work vary greatly. Some will put in 40 years and never be worth $85k. Others will be worth that after 5 years. Why should a slacker low-skilled engineer be paid the same as a brilliant hardworking one? Why should this be the case for teachers? Teachers aren't factory workers. Their skill levels matter greatly. Eric Hanushek, a Stanford economist, found that while the top 5 percent of teachers were able to impart a year and a half’s worth of learning to students in one school year, as judged by standardized tests, the weakest 5 percent advanced their students only half a year of material each year. Why are they paid the same? This artificially lowers salaries for top employees and artificially raises salaries for weak employees. The other problem I see is the difficultly in changing districts for teachers. If a school district wants top talent, they need to find them fresh out of college, which is a huge gamble. If a great teacher wants to switch districts, often this means cuts in pay or benefits. This also artificially lowers salaries for top employees, as districts can't woo them with better pay.
Joshua Raymond April 18, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Employees in any field also shouldn't get raises just for sticking around. That is an economic disincentive against attracting top talent into any field. Raises should be earned by increasing your value to the organization. Top talent works hard to improve skills year after year and expects to be rewarded for such. We need to stop treating our teachers like factory workers, but that change is not treating them like highly paid factory workers. Appreciate the ones with great skills. Appreciate the ones who work harder than others. And get rid of the economic disincentives that reward weak teachers and punish top teachers!
Marty Rosalik April 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Thanks for the look up Joshua. My example is just one example. He is working full time plus. His pay is $20 per hour, 40 hours plus per week, 52 weeks. 2080 hours @ 20 = $41,600 expected gross. This 20-year-old is well liked by the private shop owner and obviously is compensated as such. We can make semantic arguements about a few thousand here or there. But it doesn't help. That Step 0 teacher has MORE than a simple Bachelors degree. Under current contract that Step 0 teacher also has a smaller percent step increase than previous contracts. It will take about twice as long to reach the top salary. We do need merit systems but the details need working out. Current market and political forces are driving down teacher pay and benefits. That doesn't make it right. That doesn't make it a happy time to be a teacher. I'm concerned that near term potential great teachers will NOT enter the profession. Back to my "flawed" comparison. I was only looking at entry level. Now looking at Step 15 and multiple Masters'... The laser operator won't get there. And given the current political climate and the full on assault upon teachers... neither will many more new teachers.
Joshua Raymond April 18, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Marty, what would your solutions be to attract great teachers? I believe it important that we do and was pointing out that it is more than just funding and laws from Lansing that is preventing this. What can be done at a local level since that is a place that people you and I actually know can make a difference?
Marty Rosalik April 18, 2012 at 06:29 PM
First Joshua, "WE" need to quit using teachers as political punching bags. The downward pressure on wages and legacy benefiits is bad enough. I have been with the same company for over 30 years. Recently my "legacy" pension was ripped out from under me. I have some tricky long term planning to do in a very short term. I know how this feels. We need a merit system. That costs MORE not less. We can hire new teachers at higher entry steps. I can "jump ship" to a new company for more money or better benefits. Teachers usually start over at Step zero. This locks good teachers in bad schools and bad teachers in good schools. The latter is less prevalent. Private sector does not make me start over with my portable skills. Lansing STILL has a real big role in these matters. If Lansing will commit to a budget number and stick to it, local BOEs can budget better. Up or down, just stick to it! It has been too much guessing what Lansing will ( or won't ) do for far too long. This results in apocalyptic predictions that do not come true or multi million dollar surprises to absorb mid-year. This also results in layoff notices that may-or-may-not come true. Who do we send these notices to? The new teachers. So every spring we put out the "NO help wanted" sign only to maybe retract it. Either way the demagogues use the "failed" guess as yet another example of local control out of control. My top suggestions are a stabile and respectful environment.
dk April 18, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I would congratulate them, but there's really nothing to celebrate. Snyder, McMillin and Senate Bill 1040 is going to cut their pensions anyway. Add in all the privatization not paying into the pension fund, and they'll all be eating dog food in about 5 years.
Daryl Patrishkoff April 18, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Marty, Read this article and tell me how this aligns with the private sector. I find this attitude to be disgraseful. Teacher Upset She Can't Retire at 47 www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/16789 I am not saying all teachers have this attitude, but this should be disturbing to all taxpayers whther you are in the public or private sector. This is unsustainable and has nothing to do with the "KIDS."
T. M. April 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM
This isn't just about "money" and "benefits", but rather "burn out" as well. More and more teachers are leaving the profession for that reason alone. Lack of parental, community, and government support. So tired of hearing about the "money" and "benefit" aspect. Kids are certainly not the same anymore, but yet, teachers are supposed to perform miracles from the impossible many times. Who would want to go into this professional anymore? Sure, making a difference is truly rewarding; however, teachers need to support their families as well.
Timothy Maurer April 18, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Mr Shinsky. Amazing teacher. Enjoy your retirement.
MrsSchultz April 19, 2012 at 12:06 AM
what about the number of transportation staff and custodians that are forced to retire now, just to keep their benefits and retirement, because once we officially privatize, they will loose it all. yeah, a lot of teachers are retiring, but you as a district are loosing a lot more bus drivers that have been here with your kids for longer. the ones that know the district and have the best contact with your kids to and from school, the ones that make sure your kids make it there and back safely, that go out of their way to make sure the right thing is done and keeping with them for years. now you are going to have a bunch of new people driving your kids and not knowing the district. be prepared for massive changes in how your child's transportation needs are handled. hope the district is ready for all the complaints and unhappy parent and school staff.
Claire April 19, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Joshua, the problem with paying teachers based on student growth is much more complicated than it sounds on the surface. A standardized test is completely frightening to many children, and the strict test environment that comes with it doesn't help the situation. It is ONE snapshot of the child's academic ability. A child's mood and attitude towards school/testing, a problem in the home environment, and social struggles at school can skew test results drastically. Teachers count on PARENTS to encourage their children to work hard, and that is happening less and less. Kids are starting to see that hard work doesn't pay off anymore. And parents are frighteningly more concerned about how Timmy does at soccer practice than in math class. Teachers also require updated technology and resources (textbooks, etc.), and even in well-off districts like Rochester they can't afford thousands of new textbooks each school year. They're forced to use outdated materials passed down from grade level to grade level as the standards get higher.... Try teaching astronomy to elementary students from a textbook written originally for middle school students when Pluto was still a planet...
Marty Rosalik April 19, 2012 at 06:28 PM
First and foremost Daryl, I don't put much stock in ANYTHING from that "stink tank" in Midland. As such I value their points of view about as much as Move On.org. Further,why is it so imperative that we force public sector enmployees into the mold of what I have been forced to accept in private sector? The cupboard is going bare. So we need to cut back. But why are the teachers singled out? Most public employees like police, fire, and Ficano appointees retire early with great pensions too. When I see a wider umbrella mandating ALL state employees be forced into defined contribution plans... I will jump on this band wagon. This looks like more MEA bashing by the "stink tank" in Midland.
Daryl Patrishkoff April 19, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Marty, I agree with you, all public sector employees must come in line with the private sector when it comes to compensation, benefits and pensions. This example is of a school teacher, we can apply this to all public sector employees with their out of line compensation packages. Just because you do not like the source who wrote the article does not mean it is not fact. Here is a teacher who is taking a stand and going on record on how she feels about how she is being treated unfairly. Is this the same reason we have so many teachers listed on this article retiring early? How do you feel about the RCS negotiating a contract last round which had large pay increases, while the private sector was taking pay cuts and losing jobs in the tens of the thousands? They hide the pay increases by using the words "Step Increases" and expect us to believe this is not a raise. These games, budget gimmicks and building an unsustainable monster has to end. We will go bankrupt, do you know that 27% of the RCS budget goes to retirement payments; this was in the Oakland Press this week. We need to hold all public entities to be fiscal responsible and build a sustainable financial model that meets the new normal. The private sector has had to adjust to the new normal, why are the public employees different?
Joshua Raymond April 19, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Marty, I don't think it is a vendetta against the MEA for most. I think a lot of it has to do with a few things, but I'll focus on one now. Many of us strongly value education. I wouldn't be at every school board meeting and almost every Coffee with the Superintendent if I didn't believe it was vitally important. And because I value education, I do have strong opinions on how the limited dollars should be spent. I believe every child should be educated and a classroom where gifted learners are being re-taught what they already know is not providing the promised education. When I've talked with BOE members and administration, "there is no money" is a common response. So when the BOE finds money for recycling or vast amounts of money are allocated for pensions, I get mad that no money can be found for gifted education. When an entire school wing and substantial grounds, plus a huge allotment are given to athletes, but they want to cut the media specialist who was the only paid employee at my daughters' school who did anything for gifted students, I get mad. Because we value education more than many municipal services, we pay closer attention to how the limited educational funds are spent, which means we do question if some expenses are out of line with what they should be. So why aren't we banging down Lansing's doors asking for more money so it can go to programs we believe we need? Because many of us don't think it would ever make it to the programs.
Joshua Raymond April 19, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Claire, what method do you propose to evaluate teachers to determine who is an excellent teacher and who is a poor teacher? I do agree that there are can be external factors in standardized testing. I also believe that the standardized test given currently - the MEAP - is completely insufficient for assessing student growth, particularly for students at each end of the curve. However, I do not reject their use out of hand as variables such as what you mentioned even themselves out over a class or series of classes. While teachers count on parents to encourage their children to work hard, parents often feel that this backfires on their children. The children who have worked hard at home and know the material are now bored and frustrated while the teacher has to rehash the material for the students who failed to study. Many parents are going to see it as pointless to work with their kids on what the teacher will repeat tomorrow unless differentiation with acceleration is used in our classrooms. If you tell parents that if they work with their kids, their kids can move up once they have mastered the material, there is much more incentive for parents. I'm not sure how your last point factors in to evaluating growth. If textbooks are universal across the district, scores should still help figure out which teachers are most effective.
Joshua Raymond April 19, 2012 at 10:49 PM
T.M., perhaps you could list some ways that parents and the community can support teachers.
dk April 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM
Joshua –You do have a choice. http://www.joannaforrochester.com/ If you want to support teachers and children, recall "sign anything they put before me" Snyder and kick McMillin out of office in November. Do you think the 5,000 McMillin took in 2008 from a charter school lobbyists from Grand Rapids might explain his attack on our kids and Rochester Schools? http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/contributor_details.phtml?c=106782&i=91
dk April 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM
People would never have voted for Snyder if he had bothered to debate and inform Michigan voters of his radical agenda. No matter what ALEC funded legislation McMillin and his crowd put before Snyder, he just signs it. Where is the indignation and outrage at the lack of accountability in Lansing? Michigan legislators are the second highest paid in the country. Yet, McMillin “ took no cuts to his retirement benefits. He and his Republican pals made sure that the bill they passed to reduce retirement benefits for legislators didn’t take effect until the "next guy" took office. Senate Bill 1040 takes effect in the middle of the school year. It forces teachers to retire at the end of May, if they want to avoid the latest assault from Lansing’s self-serving hypocrites. See how much they care about you and your kids?
Jo Nielson April 20, 2012 at 02:51 PM
1) Snyder really isn't a radical. What makes him a radical is that he isn't beholden to the extreme right of the Republican party. Tomato - To-mah-to, I guess.... 2) Lansing has it's own mess to clean up that has nothing to do with how the Rochester Community Schools are administered. Ultimately, RCS is responsible for how RCS is run. While there's a relationship between the schools and Lansing, we can't confuse their roles in educating our kids. The MDE focuses on schools state-wide, so it isn't like their central focus is what happens in RCS on a day-to-day basis. I don't drive to Lansing when I have a problem with RCS. I go directly to the local school district. It is just and right to question the Legislative pension system in Lansing, but that really isn't going to solve the problems in the RCS district. 3) A lot of parents are looking for alternative choices for educating their children. That's just reality. Nobody wants an uneducated population, but we differ on how to get there. Insulting people who disagree with Democratic talking points only creates more problems and disharmony.
dk April 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Actions speak louder than words. What piece of radical legislation has he refused to sign? Snyder thinks he was elected Chairman of the Board instead of Governor, and McMillin is plain nuts. Rochester's School's funding problems are a direct result of Lansing's inability to do anything except attack public education, cut taxes on the rich, and increase corporate welfare. Rochester Schools did NOT make this mess, Lansing did. I have three grandchildren who went through Rochester Schools, and they are all successful. So if you want a designer education for your children - just reach into your pocket and pay for it. Nobody's is stopping you. Talking points? lol - One thing about you Republicans - reality never gets in your way.
Daryl Patrishkoff April 20, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Jo, Spot on, we are being called Radical because we want any government entity, not just the RCS, to be Fiscally Responsible and a Sustainable model. Before Snyder was in office the RCS was still deficit spending and they used budget gimmicks, millage increases and stimulus money (that was going to end) to keep the monster going. Now that the time is up they are blaming it on Snyder. Why was it not the previous governor’s problem during that time of deficit spending? In one year the State of Michigan has a real budget, a surplus and a path to improvement. This gets Snyder some radical people who want to recall him and put in place people who are not Fiscally Responsible, I call that Radical. The RCS has to fix its own problems and become Fiscally Responsible with a Sustainable model; Lansing has clearly stated what the funding is in the new normal. They have to understand this is the new normal and live within their means. The thing I do not understand is they say teacher pay, benefits and pensions are about the kids, how does this help the kids? They are cutting back many programs in the schools, but leaving the sacred cows alone and spending the reserve to fill the gap to keep the monster going. It is time to fix the monster! If we do not, we will go bankrupt. 27% and growing of the RCS budget is for retirement costs, is this sustainable?
Marty Rosalik April 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Daryl you state. "The thing I do not understand is they say teacher pay, benefits and pensions are about the kids, how does this help the kids?" Who... exactly... does the teaching if not the teachers? Everything else is support for teachers. Attracting and retaining top teachers is one of the main functions of education. Do you expect them to work for FREE? Complaining about teacher compensation is similar to complaining about car prices because the majority of a car cost is the material it is made of. I agree that the times dictate reductions. However your arguement is bordering on insult. Just because it is "the new normal" does not make it any easier to swallow for the professionals teaching our children. I truly believe your anti union bias has totally obscured what is normally great vision. The only "sustainable model" is one where Lansing VARIABLE and lately monotonically decreasing funding is linked with a math function to pay and benefits in the contracts. ( there math ) Since the contract is up for renegotiation, I invite you to consult for FREE to help get such a contract. Are you up for it?
Marianne Maurer April 21, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Marty, Thank you for understanding that RCS is not all gimmicks, and certainly not a monster. Lansing is showing a balanced budget because of the funds taken from K-12 education. Sunday morning quarterbacks can preach all they want, but first they have to understand the team and what it takes to play the game. Teachers have been insulted, accused of taking from their students, and causing the woes of our economy. Marty, our words will never convince the naysayers, but what they are doing to public education will come back to haunt them in years to come. Let us then talk about who was responsible and what did they really sustain.
dk April 21, 2012 at 10:14 AM
There you go again Daryl. Putting on your team jersey and sticking reality on a shelf. Anyone with a brain knows how and when the financial problems started for our schools and local governments; and they all know it won't end until the Republicans are done selling off the state's assets for pennies on a dollar and destroying public education in the US. RCS is NOT responsible for their deficit, and no one can become self-sustaining when someone keeps stealing their money to give tax cuts to shirkers. This is a Republican manufactured financial crisis - brought to you courtesy of McMillin, Snyder, and the rest of the radical right wing that has taken over our state - thanks to ALEC, the Mackinac Center and 2010 apathetic/bamboozled voters. If the Granholm administration had an ounce of cooperation from Bishop and the rest of the cut and spend legislators running the Senate, the budget would have been addressed without all of the corporate welfare. Like I said. Companies that take public money have no room to talk. They are a bigger boondoggle on the taxpayer than any teacher, union, or welfare mom has ever been.
Daryl Patrishkoff April 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Marty, I am not anti teacher, nor anti union, I am stating that the world has changed and we are in a new normal. If you really knew me and what I am involved in you will see I am very pro teacher. Over my career I have seen many new normal’s happen, the people who do not embrace the change, understand the new normal and are creatively finding a way to thrive will fail. I also am taking the stand that it is not Radical to be fiscally responsible with a sustainable model for the future. We need to decide what our core key objectives are and find a way to deliver them efficiently. This is what I do with organizations in the private sector. There is plenty of resistance at the beginning, but once all understand this is to have a sustainable model (which means long term employment) for the future they begin to jump on board and be the change agents. If the RCS board is interested I will consult for free to help in this effort. I have done many of these free services since 2008 to help in these troubled times to public sector efforts and will continue to do this in the future. All government entities are trying to avoid the obvious, things have changed. The unions need to understand that and adjust by changing work rules and adjust pay and benefits to meet what can be afforded. There is no magical money tree and adjustments need to be made.
Daryl Patrishkoff April 21, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Marianne, I hope you do not think I said RCS is all gimmicks, that is not what I am trying to state. What I am trying to state is they have been deficit spending for years and kicking the can down the road. There is only so much money, we have to live within our means. The sooner we take the medicine the less pain we will have to endure. People may take issue with me stating they have been deficit spending for years, which is where the gimmicks have been used to shield such deficit spending. The numbers do not lie; they are spending more money than they are taking in and using other means to fill the gap temporarily. This is why I call it kicking the can down the road. No one is blaming the teachers or anyone, all need to take part in the shared sacrifice. I mean all government entities and employees at all levels, not just teachers. Across the board cuts at all levels of the organization in pay, benefits and retirement costs are how the private sector has dealt with it and is building a sustainable model. Why not the public sector?
Daryl Patrishkoff April 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Oakland, As stated in the past many times, come out in the open and disclose who you are and let's have an intelligent conversation. I would enjoy getting into a conversation with you if you state who you are without hiding behind a name and taking shots. This is America and we have free speech, join the rest of us.
dk April 21, 2012 at 11:02 PM
"U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) is asking the Internal Revenue Service to look into the Mackinac Center’s failure to disclose its lobbying activities on its tax forms. Levin's letter to the IRS refers to emails between the Mackinac Center and Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) on legislation to change health insurance for public employees. In a letter to the IRS, Levin quotes the Mackinac Center’s goal to "outlaw government collective bargaining in Michigan, which in practical terms means no more MEA." https://www.facebook.com/midistrict45
dk April 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Fiscally responsible - what a smoke screen and deliberate distraction from the facts. RCS is not fiscally irresponsible and is not responsible for the massive amount of money being siphoned from k-12 and post secondary in this state. They took a meat cleaver to all of k-12, and they are driving up the cost of tuitions driving millions of kids into irreparable debt. Instead of platitudes, look at the Republican budget and the gazillion laws they've passed hacking away at the poor, seniors and schools. laws. Who I am has no bearing on what's real. The facts are the facts. Look it up. The reason you change the subject instead of addressing the facts is because you know what they are doing to our schools and community is wrong.


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