Idyllwild School has some big changes happening as the end of the school year approaches. Three of the school’s staff members have made it to retirement, moving onto the next chapter of their lives.
After making huge impacts with the students, staff, faculty and families, Tim Bashor, custodian, Diana Kirkham, elementary teacher, and Health Technician Missy Churchill are all retiring by the end of the summer.
Bashor has been at Idyllwild School for five years but has been working for the Hemet Unified School District for 13 years. Bashor wanted to work as a day custodian, which he was able to do at Idyllwild School.
“I worked as a night custodian before I came up here, but this is what I always wanted to do, be a day custodian,” said Bashor.
He explained how being a day custodian also gives him the opportunity to build relationships with the kids.
“It’s not just vacuuming and dumping trash, which can get a little monotonous,” Bashor confessed. “The biggest thing is being around the students. They thank me for cleaning their campus, and even though I’m not a teacher, I still feel like I could make a positive influence on the kids’ lives.”
Physically, Bashor has run into some problems with his back, which has made it harder on him to continue working.
“I’m going to be 65 next month and I’m getting to where I can’t do the work anymore,” Bashor admitted. “But I finally feel like I’ve made a difference, especially with the kids.”
Two students at Idyllwild School spoke about how Bashor made an impact on their lives.
Bliss Ortiz, who is in kindergarten, said, “He’s always nice to me. He says ‘hi’ to me and he takes the trash out and sometimes we see him at lunch. If anybody mess with me, Mr. Tim said he is gonna help me.”
Her older brother, Adan Ortiz, who is just finishing up his eighth-grade year, also said, “He’s nice. He’s encouraging and funny. He’s silly. One time he wore a clown hat just because he could. He does a bunch of silly stuff. He’s always told me he would protect me from bullies.”
“I just love the kids and that’s what I’m going to miss the most.,” Bashor said. “They show me appreciation. Encouraging and being there for the kids is what it’s all about for me.”
Not only did the students recognize Bashor’s kindness, but parents also heard about it from their kids at home and witnessed it for themselves.
Parent Ada Ortiz and former Idyllwild School breakfast cafeteria supervisor said, “I got to work with him and he was one of the few staff members that made me feel welcomed. He made it easier to come to work. To see his friendly face and smile is what I looked forward to every day.”
Parent Cristina Reyes said, “He made the kids happy. Nowadays, everyone just works for a paycheck because it’s their job, but he definitely changed lives at that school by going that extra mile. He gave more than he needed to.”
Principal Matt Kraemer explained how much Bashor made a difference to everyone while working at Idyllwild School.
“Tim is extremely popular with the students at Idyllwild School,” Kraemer said. “He goes out of his way to greet each of them as they come on campus. Sometimes he sings them a song or gives them a crazy nickname. He also has proven himself to be resourceful and persistent in dealing with all aspects of custodial work. His work ethic is outstanding as he frequently works long hours in making sure our campus is safe and looking good. Tim will be missed by both students and staff!”
Idyllwild School teacher Diana Kirkham is also saying goodbye after 36 years of teaching. Kirkham has worked at Idyllwild School for the last four years, teaching kindergarten, first and second grades during that time.
Prior to working at Idyllwild School, Kirkham worked at Little Lake Elementary School in Hemet.
“I will miss the relationship I developed each year with my new batch of kiddos,” Kirkham said. “Each year my students are an extension of my family which I know I will miss.”
While Kirkham may be leaving, she hopes she can still stay involved. Kirkham would like to volunteer and maybe substitute teach to keep in touch with the Idyllwild staff and kids.
With retirement scheduled for June 2, Kirkham is ready to spend more time enjoying new adventures and family.
“My husband is also retiring from Hemet High School, so we will be doing more of the adventures we do now — mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and camping in new places,” Kirkham said. “Traveling more will hopefully be an option soon as well as spending time with my son and his family in San Diego.”
“Diana is an extraordinary teacher who goes above and beyond one’s normal expectations for a classroom teacher,” Kraemer said. “Her enthusiasm and dedication she has for her students is clearly apparent when you observe her classroom. She has played an integral part of Idyllwild School’s success as a high performing school and was truly deserving of the honor as our school’s choice for Teacher of the Year! We all wish her the best of luck in her retirement!”
Idyllwild School Health Technician Missy Churchill is also moving on from Idyllwild School. While Churchill chose not to be interviewed for this story, Kraemer expressed his appreciation for her work at Idyllwild School.
“Missy’s concern for children extends far beyond the limits of a time clock or a health technician’s job description,” Kraemer said. “She works closely with families dealing with a serious health concern and always conducts herself in a professional manner when dealing with a medical emergency at school. Her heart and compassion for others is limitless! All of us in our Idyllwild family will miss Missy!”
No matter what position you work in education, the opportunity to touch the lives of the students can make a lifelong impact on them and their families. These three Idyllwild School employees showed exactly that.