For the last 38 years, Vicki Koogler has taught family and consumer science at Hayes High School, but at the end of May, she will be retiring to spend more time with her family.
Koogler said she studied family and consumer science and had substitute taught and worked as a full-time teacher for about 3-and-a-half years before she interviewed for a job at Hayes to teach family and consumer science, formerly called home economics. She was hired in 1980.
Koogler said family and consumer science has changed a great deal since 1980.
“It’s changed a lot,” Koogler said. “We have a lot more focus on eating healthy and nutrition, and more focus on personal finance, overall wellness, and juggling family and work. Back in the old days, it was sewing, cooking, childcare — just basic topics, but now it really is focused on wellness.”
Koogler said she is a co-dean of House Sugar Grove, one of Hayes’ eight houses that were implemented in 2015 to give students a great sense of community, and she thinks the program has had a positive effect on Hayes.
“It’s a very big positive for Hayes High School,” Koogler said. “The students come in and they are one of 200, instead of one of 1,600. It’s just great.”
Koogler said as co-dean, she has brought in speakers and presentations for her house to educate them and prepare them for adulthood.
Koogler added she and her husband live in Dublin, and she’s received numerous job offers elsewhere, but has turned them all down because she wanted to stay at Hayes.
“I know I was born to be a teacher because I love every minute of it,” Koogler said. “I had opportunities to leave Delaware but just didn’t take them, and that is the best decision I have ever made is staying in Delaware because the kids are great, the community, the parents are great, as well as the staff and administrators. It’s just a great place to be. We have great kids.”
Koogler said she is retiring because one of her sons, who lives in Seattle, Washington, had a baby and she wants to be able to take the time to visit her grandson. Koogler added she is also looking forward to visiting her other son who will be starting a fellowship in New York.
“I’m gonna miss the kids, the staff and the environment,” Koogler said. “I’m going to miss the kids, there’s no way around it.”
She added that she feels like the Delaware community has become part of her family.
“I’ve appreciated the community here,” Koogler said. “It’s felt like a family from the beginning. Delaware has embraced me, and I love the kids and the community. Delaware is my second home. I’ve spent so much time here, and it’s all good time. I feel so luck that I interviewed for this position and got it. It was a perfect fit.”
Koogler said she also plans to travel more often with her husband after she retires May 30.
“Vicki Koogler has spent her entire career at Delaware Hayes teaching generations of Pacers with enthusiasm, energy and passion,” said Hayes Principal Richard Stranges. “She has left a legacy of love, and she will truly be missed.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.