Three longtime Garfield teachers say good-bye

Three beloved teachers with long careers in the Augusta school system are retiring. The lives of hundreds of Augusta students have been touched by the special ladies.

A reception in their honor was held for the Garfield teachers Tami Ibarra, Janet Clark and Barbara McCalla, was held Thursday afternoon in the school's commons area. Over 300 co-workers, friends, families and former students dropped by to say good-bye and wish them well on their retirements.

Ibarra, fifth grade teacher, taught for 35 years at Garfield, and plans to enjoy her new chapter in life, "I just plan on doing things that make me happy."

McCalla, recently a Title 1/reading teacher, came to the Augusta school system in 1977, along with her husband Bob McCalla, former teacher, principal and currently USD 402 BOE president. She began teaching at Garfield Elementary in 1987.

She shared, "I plan to treasure each and every day - and be happy doing something meaningful."

Clark, fifth grade teacher, has been at Garfield for 38 years. Her plans - "I want to do some traveling and spend more time with my family. I might even do some subbing here at Garfield."

Garfield Principal Kim Clark advised that the three will be sorely missed by everyone, "How do you know the number of lives that have been touched by Barb McCalla, Tami Ibarra, and Janet Clark, three lifetime educators at Garfield Elementary School? The ladies will officially retire on May 20, 2013, with combined years of teaching of exactly 120 and you could multiply that number by an average of twenty students per year to estimate the number of students they have taught. But the lives they impacted go far beyond that number.

I had the privilege of serving as the ladies' building principal for the last nine years of their teaching. They were strong team-players, energetic, dynamic, and creative. Even as master teachers, they were always learning the new instructional strategies to help students learn at the highest levels.

They inspired us all to be better teachers. For that, they leave a legacy at Garfield Elementary School and Augusta USD 402."

(Check our photo galleries for more scenes from the reception)