Wyoming Education Association

Spring 2019

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X Member Spotlight 22 Spring 2019 | wyoea.edu WEA's Wayne Schatz Named AARP's Retiree of the Year By Judy Trohkimoinen Long-time WEA member Wayne Schatz is a retiree star, so much so that he was recently recognized as the Wyoming American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Retired Educator of the Year. "It was a shock to me," he said about hearing that he'd received the award. "I just try to stay active, enjoy myself, and have fun. I don't worry about awards." This award is usually given to a retired educator, someone who has become active and involved in their community. Wayne was an educator for 39 ½ years, all in Sheridan School District #2. His fi rst assignment was as a team teacher at Coff een School in 1969, an open concept school. After ten years Wayne wanted to try something new, so he transferred to Woodland Park Elementary where he taught 6th grade. "My real love was teaching Wyoming History, so I went back to 4th grade the next year. I just loved the 4th Grade curriculum." After 20 years Wayne received his master's degree in Computers of Education. He introduced students to simple robotics, keyboarding, and what computers can do for us. "Things have changed so much," he said. "I grew up on a ranch outside Meeteetse with a party line phone and we had to be careful not to interrupt our neighbor's conversations. Now we have a computer in our phones!" After Wayne retired, he decided to stay busy and regularly volunteers for AARP, is an usher for the WYO Theatre and serves on the Sheridan School District 2 Board of Trustees. He is politically active and has often served on the Legislative Contact Team and on the Candidate Interview Team when WEA needs help interviewing Sheridan County legislative candidates. He is also very active in the Wyoming Retired Education Personnel (WREP) group. As a WEA-R member he fi nds both groups to be important because they help retirees to enjoy a better quality of life. Wayne's main purpose is to help people, both retired and active educators. He is proud of the services that AARP, WEA, and the WREP off er. Theses organization were among the coalition members who supported HB 314, which would have helped addressed a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Wyoming's public retirees. Wayne says, "Older retirees are struggling and live deposit to deposit. As you get older, you have more problems with health and prescription costs." A COLA would have helped to address this issue. Wayne's school board service has been exemplary! He has served for 10 years so far: two full four-year terms and now two years into a third term. This work is entirely diff erent than being in the classroom. "The biggest surprise was all of the work 'underneath the classroom' so that teachers can teach. There's fi nancial planning, paperwork, and government regulations to consider. That's not the most fun." When asked his favorite part of being on the school board Wayne said, "We have a chance to review fi nances and make sure that we're under budget so that we can off er teacher raises. We want to make sure that we have salaries that are comparable to other parts of the state. Sheridan is a wonderful community. We're looking to do things better and people here are very giving." When asked what advice he would give to someone considering retirement, Wayne said, "Before you retire do some planning and fi nd out what you enjoy. Continue to take care of your health as much as you can. Plan carefully so you can do the fun things you like to do, including family activities with children and grandchildren. A retired person has the option to fi ll time with activities that they enjoy. I've probably chosen to be overly active sometimes. I'm not ready o sit around and watch TV all day." Wayne lives a full life worthy of aspiration!

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