Seese celebrates 50-plus years in education


The end of the 2023-2024 school year marked 50 years of teaching and instruction for Janet Seese, an educational assistant at Carlisle Elementary, and she said last week she has no plans of stopping.

Seese, 73, said she was inspired to become a teacher when she was in first grade and her aunt Hannah, a teacher, took her to (Hannah’s) kindergarten class one day.

“I thought that was the coolest thing,” Seese said Thursday. “From that moment I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher.”

Seese attended Ohio Wesleyan University and finally got her chance to teach kindergarten as a student teacher at Woodward Elementary.

“I went in there and (after) I thought, ‘This is not for me,’” Seese laughed. She student-taught first grade at Boardman School and third grade at Conger and continued to think it wasn’t for her until she taught fourth grade at Smith Elementary during her senior year at OWU.

“I loved it,” Seese said. “That was great.”

Seese then began teaching fifth grade in Wilmington, Ohio, in 1972. She and her husband moved to Delaware County in 1981, and she took time off from teaching shortly after due to the birth of her children, but she continued to teach summer school at Woodward during that time.

Seese said she formally began her time with the district after an informal interview. Seese said in those days, the district would bus children down to Highbanks Metro Park at the end of summer school and the principal at the time, Walt Gibson, interviewed her for a fifth grade teacher position during that event.

“He interviewed me under a tree at Highbanks,” Seese recalled. “That was very different than it is today. You don’t get jobs (under a tree) at Highbanks Park.”

Seese taught fifth grade at Woodward from 1983 until 2000, when the district moved fifth grade to then-Willis Intermediate School. Seese continued to teach fifth grade until 2004 when she retired as a teacher, but her retirement didn’t stick.

“I retired,” Seese said. “I wanted to continue doing something else but was pretty much done with the hard stuff like paper grading, lesson planning, and conferences, and so I wanted to be an aide.”

Seese said she nearly became an assistant librarian at Woodward but didn’t get the position. Instead, she ended up as a classroom assistant at Carlisle.

“I came up here at Carlisle to be a classroom assistant, and I think that was really my calling,” Seese said. “I’m so glad that’s how it worked out. I still go to work with kids and teachers but to do it on a different level.”

The end of the school year Thursday marked Seese’s 20th year at Carlisle and her more than 50th total year in education, though it doesn’t feel like it to Seese.

“It feels like it went really fast,” she said. “People that are older always say life goes so fast, but when you’re in it, it doesn’t seem like it’s going that fast because you’re in a daily grind. You do things that are the same over and over and over, every week. You’re in that routine, and you don’t realize it’s going by as fast as it does. It’s unbelievable as I look back on all the different things that happened in my life, but I’m really happy about it.”

Seese said she continues to enjoy being in the school and said this past school year has been one of her favorites.

“Of all the years, this is my favorite because I’ve been in fifth grade all year, so I’ve gotten to know that whole class,” Seese said. “They’ve been a joy to work with … I like the older kids because by the time they get to fifth grade, they come to the realization that they are responsible for their learning. They understand that if they didn’t have help, they’d be struggling.”

Seese said she plans to stay on at Carlisle for the foreseeable future.

“I’ll be 74 in two weeks,” Seese said. “I like having the routine, but I still get weekends, summers and holidays. I think I have quite a lot of energy. I think it’s good for me to have that kind of routine, but it’s not stressful. I think a lot of older people don’t know what to do with their time. I think it’s good for my brain to get up and come to school and keep my brain active with academics.”

Before becoming assistant superintendent and the current superintendent, Heidi Kegley worked as the principal at Willis Intermediate School and worked directly with Seese. On Thursday, Kegley called Seese “truly an inspiration to her fellow colleagues, her students and those of us in the education community.”

“Her dedication to our school district has had an incredible impact on the students, staff and families over the past 50 years,” Kegley said. “When she was a teacher at Willis, she always had a smile on her face and took the time to connect with the students. Her positive relationships have continued while working at Carlisle. We appreciate her continued service to our district as we know how much her students love seeing her each day and the value she brings to the classroom.”

Looking ahead to the next school year, Seese said she’s excited to meet the new principal at Carlisle and meet a new group of kids.

“I like what I do,” Seese said. “I don’t think I was supposed to be doing anything else.”

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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