Teacher of the Year, Halter retires from life’s work after 48 years in schools
When Jeanne Halter retired – for a second time – after the 2019-20 school year, she’d spent 48 years educating students (37 years in Woodford County schools). And she can’t think of anything she would’ve enjoyed doing more than teaching, she says. Being able to work one-on-one with students for 20 years, during her second act as a home/hospital instructor, was a fulfilling way to finish her teaching career. Halter says she became aware of how at-home instruction benefited students unable to be in school because of medical conditions or illnesses when she learned at home for a time as a child. Some students receive home/hospital instruction services on a short-time basis while recovering from broken bones and surgeries. Others get those services for chronic medical conditions. “I’ve had a couple (students) who passed away during the time that I worked with them. They had very serious illnesses; those are really hard. They’re ones you always remember,” says Halter. “And then I had one (student) that was not expected to live and she’s still doing very well now.” Prior to becoming a home/hospital instructor, Halter taught sixth-graders at Southside Elementary School. She was also a third- and sixth-grade teacher at Mortonsville Elementary School during her 28 years in the classroom, she says. Career highlights included working with Southside students in a new science resource room. They did hands-on activities, set up a greenhouse and grew their own pumpkin patch, all of which Halter says she enjoyed. Halter says her principal, Lois Hamm, supported her efforts to get some funding so students could have hands-on science experiences at Mortonsville and Southside. “And a lot of it was just science on a shoestring,” she explains. “Doing what you can with what you’ve got.” Reflecting on why she chose to become a teacher, Halter remembers her sixth-grade teacher, who always made sure students were involved in the learning and felt supported. Now 70, Halter says she wants to spend more time doing what she enjoys: gardening, canning, reading and helping families in need while volunteering at her church program. And this grandma says she’s still tutoring a couple of Fayette County students who needed help navigating virtual learning this school year. Halter and her husband of 48 years, Jack, who was an industrial arts teacher at WCHS for 25 years, have called Woodford County their home since 1980 or ‘81, says the 2019-20 Teacher of the Year. This is the seventh and last profile of the 2019-20 Woodford County Public Schools’ Teachers of the Year.