12 retirees honored at MT board meeting


The Miami Trace Local School District celebrated its 2023 retirees and their many years of hard work at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

The 12 Miami Trace retirees of 2023 combined make up a total of 312 years of work and dedication for the school district and its students. At Monday’s meeting at the middle school, each retiree was called up by Miami Trace Local School District Superintendent Kim Pittser to receive a gift, and were asked to give their favorite memory from their years of working at the school.

The first retiree to be announced was Susie Berry, who was an English teacher at the school for 21 years. According to Berry, her favorite memory from her years at Trace was when one of her students was a runner-up at a spelling bee.

“She (the student) emailed me before the spelling bee, in the middle of the night with questions about vocabulary and I was so happy to help. It was so cool to see her do so well and end up runner-up of first place,” Berry said.

Next was Ellen Businger, who has spent 34 years at Miami Trace as an elementary teacher. Businger has spent her entire life teaching children, and has dedicated her time to education.

“I have taught in many places,” said Businger. “I’ve taught in basements, in boiler rooms, gymnasiums and cafeterias.” She added that when she finally landed at Miami Trace, she was “very happy” with her room, and “still is.”

Toni Fast has been a part of Miami Trace Elementary’s staff for 26 years now, and has had an important impact on both the student body, and her coworkers.

“I think my favorite memory from working at Trace is when I drove the food truck and dressed as a boy scout,” said Fast. “It ended up breaking down and I didn’t have a cell phone or walkie-talkie, and I had to walk around Jamison Road looking for help, dressed like that.”

Toni Horney has spent the last 10 years as a paraprofessional at Miami Trace, helping in various classrooms and taking on many important roles.

“I remember there was this little girl in a special needs class and her parents were in a rock band,” said Horney. “She just started singing ‘We Will Rock You’ right in the middle of morning announcements. That is a memory that will definitely stay with me.”

Mina Jones spent 17 years working at Miami Trace in both the school’s former library, and then in social studies.

“I was beyond excited when I was asked to take over the library at the school,” said Jones. “I was told by my friends that I had a ‘cake job’ because it was so ideal.” She then went on to explain how she moved into a classroom to begin social studies. “That wasn’t exactly a ‘cake job’,” she said, “but it was a very rewarding, wonderful job.”

Jenny Makselan embarked on her impressive 36.5-year journey with Miami Trace, as an educational aide at Eber Elementary School. She later transitioned to Madison Mills Elementary before returning to Eber, where she assumed the position of School Secretary. With unwavering dedication, she faithfully served in this role for approximately 30 years, concluding her remarkable career at Miami Trace Middle School.

“I have way too many memories here to recall,” said Makselan, “but every single one of them has been great.”

Bill Marting drove a school bus for Miami Trace for 25 years, ensuring the safety of the student body and being a great example to his passengers.

“When I first started, there was a boy in seventh grade and it was his very first time to ever ride the bus because his mom always took him,” said Marting, “and one day I saw he looked like he’d been crying so I stopped one of the other boys and the boy said ‘don’t worry about him, someone said Santa Claus didn’t exist,’”

Miranda Munro was also a bus driver for Miami Trace for a faithful 26 years as both a mentor and a watchful eye for the young students.

“One of my favorite memories from being a bus driver is when a little boy who gave me all sorts of trouble came up to me one day with a stuffed animal for Valentine’s Day,” said Munro, “it had dog slobbers all over it!” She added that she saw the boy’s father while at the hospital, years later, after the boy had graduated. She claimed that his father recognized her and that it was a touching moment.

Judy Russell is another driver retiree of 22 years, but she joked that it “felt more like 40.” Russell claims she has “too many memories to share” but that it has been “one of the best jobs of her life.”

“I just really appreciate everyone that I’ve worked with,” said Russell. “It’s been wonderful.”

Last but not least was Jeff Weidenheft, a Miami Trace custodian of 33.5 years who has done wonders for the district.

“Working at Trace has been the best job of my life,” said Weidenheft. “I’m going to miss working with all of my friends and it’s just been great.”

Following the celebration, the group of retirees and friends stood together in union for one last group picture.

Longtime district treasurer Debbie Black, a Miami Trace employee of 26 years, and 35-year employee Jana Self were unable to be in attendance.

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