Sunday, April 19, 2009

Elementary teacher to retire after 31 years at school

ROCK VALLEY—Judy Eknes had a great experience as a fourth-grader.

"I had a very good fourth-grade teacher," said Eknes, who now teaches fourth grade at Rock Valley Elementary. "I enjoyed my fourth grade year a lot and decided that's where I'd like to be."

And, for 30 years, the 61-year-old Eknes has attempted to share that feeling with the multiple fourth-grade students she's had.

But, come May, Eknes will retire from the school system she has spent her entire career with.

Originally from Orange City, Eknes is no stranger to N'West Iowa. She attended Northwestern College in Orange City and immediately after graduation, began teaching summer school at Rock Valley.

That fall, Eknes started her career as a fourth-grade teacher, where she remained for five years, until she decided to take some time off to raise her two children.

But, after only two years, Eknes was back in the school system, subbing part time, which she did for six years, until she became a third-grade teacher.

Eknes only remained in the third-grade class room for one year before she switched back to fourth, where has been for the past 25 years.

Throughout her years at Rock Valley, the technology may have changed, but Eknes' love for children has not.

"I really enjoy the diversity of students I've had in the classroom," she said. "It's really made teaching interesting and unique every day."

That's not all Eknes will miss about her duties as a fourth grade teacher, though.

"I'm going to miss going to the Shrine Circus in Sioux Falls. I've gone every year I've taught fourth grade," she said. "I may have to get my husband to take me from now on."

Which will fit in perfectly what Eknes and her husband, Ken, have planned following her retirement.

Although the couple plans to stay in Rock Valley, they have one child who lives on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, so traveling is a definite priority.

"We love to travel, and with another grandchild on the way, I plan to spend more time with my children and grandchildren," Eknes said.

This article appeared in the April 18, 2009 edition of The N'West Iowa REVIEW.

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