When the school year ends in a few weeks, six Idyllwild School teachers — Iva Botton, Patty Carratello, Diane D’Arcy, Joan Gray, Holly Guntermann and Vic Scavarda— will close their classroom doors for the final time.
More than 125 years of experience will walk away from the local school.
Idyllwild School enrollment is barely one percent of Hemet Unified School District’s total population, yet this year, the six Idyllwild teachers represent 12 percent of the total district teachers taking the special early retirement and almost 40 percent of the local school’s faculty.
“It will be a huge impact,” said Idyllwild School Principal Matt Kraemer. He’s also hoping the future retirees will stay involved with school activities. Kraemer said he plans to continue many of the programs Carratello instituted such as trips to Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance.
If he selects replacements from within the district, the new faculty may be in place before school ends. While this is a tremendous loss of experience, it is also an opportunity for new energy, new ideas and a new generation of teachers.
She is very happy with her decision and has no current plans for next year. She said her determination and ability to adjust to change is considerable since she did not start teaching until she was 50, only 15 years ago.
She has been very active among Idyllwild School faculty, but the past twelve months have been very difficult because of her health. She said this is the right thing to do.
It also gives her time to finish her dissertation and earn her doctorate in education.
Despite the freedom, she said she’ll “miss the joy of teaching. I love to teach. I enjoy being with students. I see possibilities, strengths, skills and hope.”
“I’m a little nervous,” admitted this teacher. But she also confided that next year would likely have been her last year of teaching if her special retirement package had not been available this spring.
While she plans to stay in Idyllwild, there may be a little more travel in her future.
She plans to stay in Idyllwild. She’ll devote time to her grandchild and will likely be a future smARTS volunteer. “I want to find out what it’s like to not live by a school system schedule,” she said with a smile.
She very much enjoyed her time with kids and eventually the second generation of some of her students. A local mother once told her how much she was reminded of her teacher at Desert Hot Springs. At the next conference, they discovered that Gray was that former teacher.
She is well known in Idyllwild, not only as the school physical education teacher and coach of several sports, but as one of the founders of the Annual 5 & 10K Run and Fitness Walk to support the program.
As she reminisced about her career, Guntermann frequently mentioned the connections between the school and the community. These moments will always be important for her.
“I’ll miss the kids,” Guntermann said. “But I’ll stay around.” She would be available for coaching if none of the faculty wanted to coach a sport.
He leaves with the most and widest experience. His teaching career began in Australia. Both Scavarda and Guntermann began at Idyllwild School in 1979.
He also admitted the idea of retirement was not a sudden event, but he’s happy going this year because of the wonderful class. But he too is thinking about future involvement at the school, including smARTS.