NRMS science teacher Lynnete McCarty retires after 13 years
Lynnete McCarty loves sixth grade science for the same reason as most of her students - the experiments.
"I love the curriculum and how hands-on the curriculum is," she said.
McCarty said it might not necessarily be the experiments she's most fond of, but more the students' reactions to the experiments year-after-year.
"It's really fun to see them get excited about what we're doing," she said.
Her favorite experiment is igniting a hydrogen balloon, she said.
"There's a boom and a pretty big flash," she said.
Don't worry, parents. It's all very safe.
Another fun experiment is using the Van de Graaff generator, she said. That's the machine that makes students' hair stand on end.
The Bloomington, Minn. native said she taught all over the Midwest before ending up in New Richmond. That's because her husband, Chet, worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service and was transferred several times before being assigned to the St. Croix Wetland District. He retired five years ago.
Along with teaching sixth grade science, McCarty said she's also taught general studies at a Catholic school, sixth grade science and math, 10th grade biology, Title 1 at a school in Missouri, first grade at a school in Minnesota and she spent a few years teaching at an outdoor education center in Saginaw, Mich.
"Middle school is great and it's a perfect fit for me," she said. "But I also really loved teaching at the outdoor educational center."
At the center, various classes spent two and a half days learning about the outdoors, whether it was pioneer studies in the 100-year-old log cabin, forest ecology or spending time in the Indian village on site.
"It was a whole different thing for them," she said of the students' experience at the center. "We got to expose them to different things they normally wouldn't get."
It's that experience that makes the numerous Camp Wapo trips one of McCarty's favorite memories.
"I teach a water studies class there," she said. "We wear the hip boots and get in the water and look for all kinds of stuff. Camp Wapo is a lot of neat stuff the kids wouldn't do if we just stayed in the classroom."
McCarty said while she never sought a master's degree, she did earn National Board Certification, something few New Richmond teachers have accomplished.
National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential that is valid for 10 years. Certification is designed to recognize accomplished teachers who meet high standards based on what teachers should know and be able to do.
"The hardest part of that whole thing is proving your excellence," she said. "It's hard for me to show my contributions. I always think that what you do it just what you do - I don't think of it as extraordinary."
As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six constructed response exercises that assess content knowledge.
When she leaves New Richmond Middle School, McCarty said she'll be filled with a mix of emotions.
"I'm really looking forward to it, but it'll be different," she said.
In her retirement McCarty said she has several things planned to keep her busy.
"I like hiking, camping, kayaking and biking," she said. "We have kayaks we want to use on Lake Superior."
In addition to kayaking, McCarty said she hopes to spend lots of time with her grandchildren and visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
McCarty said she'll miss the collaborative, collegial relationship the sixth grade staff had.
"We had the best team work," she said. "It's been a great staff to work with."
McCarty said she has no plans to leave New Richmond after retirement. In fact, she's looking forward to seeing what the community becomes in the next few years.