Kindergarten teacher retires after 31 years at Evergreen

Patty Culver (left) gets a big hug from kindergarten teacher Suzie Garman at Jubilee Park for Garman’s retirement celebration Saturday, June 3. (Photo by Laura Mancuso, Illinois Valley News)

Evergreen Elementary kindergarten teacher Suzie Garman will retire after 31 years of service. There was a retirement celebration coordinated by parents of her current 2022 – 2023 class at Jubilee Park Saturday, June 3.
The park playground was a wonderful place for a kindergarten teacher to celebrate retirement on a breezy, sunny day with laughter from children swinging and playing. Mrs. Garman was all smiles when former librarian Patty Culver arrived. “She took me under her wing and taught me how to read to my class my first year of teaching in 1992.”
Incredibly, Garman spent all 31 years of her teaching career at Evergreen Elementary School in the kindergarten class. She had a yearbook present of almost all of the classes she taught over the years. She described how fun it was to teach her students’ children.
Garman graduated from Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore. and she knew back then that it was kindergarten she wanted to teach.
Her former colleague, first grade teacher Joe Flaherty, was at the party and reminisced about his experiences with Garman. “She was very kind to me when I first started as a rookie teacher. She really helped me and let me hang out in her classroom. It really helped me,” said Flaherty, adding, “Did you know that every year Mrs. Garman went to Headstart to meet the children coming into kindergarten?”
Garman said she felt it was the right time to retire because there are more things she wants to do. “I want to travel and spend time with my grandkids; do art, relax and do things I never got around to doing.” Garman also said she may volunteer and be a substitute teacher. “My mom is still alive and I want to spend time with her and my grandkids that are not in school yet.”
At the celebration, you could hear parents saying kind words to Garman such as, “I didn’t know how to have my kid ready for school; you taught me that.”
“I want to thank all the families over the years that made my career successful and a special thanks to the 2022-2023 class of moms that coordinated my retirement party,” said Garman.
Congratulations on a marvelous teaching career and thank you for your service to so many young lives and their families!