Longtime teachers retiring


The 2022-2023 school year came to a close for students Friday afternoon with clap outs and send-offs at buildings throughout the Delaware City School District.

At Woodward Elementary, Friday was also the final day with students for intervention specialist Dawn Riedlinger and reading teacher Linda MacNaughton, both of whom have been at Woodward for more than 30 years.

MacNaughton said she has worked for the district for 34 years, including time spent as a substitute teacher. She has spent 32 of those years at Woodward but decided to retire this year because she’s tired and wants to spend more time with family.

MacNaughton added she will miss the family feeling at Woodward.

“It really is my family,” she said. “It’s the teachers and the kids. Even students I never had as my students still wave to me and say hi every morning.”

After her retirement, MacNaughton plans to relax, garden and read more. She said she hopes her legacy at the school is the number of and quality of bonds she formed with students.

“It’s not only the number of kids but just the rapport I’ve had with them,” MacNaughton said. “They always felt safe to talk to me, and they know that I love them. It’s like a family away from home. Woodward may not look like the best from the outside, but when you step inside, you feel like you belong there. We care for every kid like they’re our own. You just feel the vibe.”

Riedlinger, who currently works with second and fifth graders, said she has always prided herself on doing “(her) very best,” but she “can tell (she’s) getting tired”

“It’s time for some fresh blood to get in here and push these kids forward and love kids as much as I have over this career,” Riedlinger said. “I’ve loved my career, but it’s just time. Woodward is my home. It’s very bittersweet.”

Riedlinger said she joined the district in 1989 and has been at Woodward since 1991.

“I’ll miss the family atmosphere more than anything,” Riedlinger said. “I’ve met some very dear friends here. I’m going to miss the generations I’ve worked with in this building. I’ve known parents and had their children. I really pride myself on the relationships I’ve had over the years. It’s just been home. I’ve loved everything that I’ve done.”

Riedlinger said she appreciated the kind words and affirmations that her colleagues gave her at the end of the school year and said it validated her belief that she was supposed to be at Woodward.

“That’s what I was sent here to do, to love people and love kids,” Riedlinger said. “I feel like that’s my legacy here. Everyone has a dream to follow and the ability to do it, they just need that cheerleader.”

Students have no more days of school, but teachers will return on Tuesday for a workday before their summer break begins.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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