MUSCATINE, Iowa–While celebrating the end of the year with students proved the biggest inspiration for Madison Elementary School’s end of the year reverse parade, highlighting the retirement of three longtime staff members also made up an important part of the event. Though the closure of schools through the end of the academic year due to COVID-19 made traditional retirement parties impossible, Madison found several clever ways to honor the retirements of Donna Godden Alloway, Deb Maida, and Nancy Schuler.
Donna Godden Alloway
21 years ago, Godden Alloway first started working for Muscatine Community School District as a Title I reading teacher. While helping students master reading skills, Godden Alloway also instilled a love of reading in them. “She is patient and kind with those students who benefit from additional support with reading,” said Madison Principal Stephanie Zillig. A skilled baker, Godden Alloway also brightened her colleagues’ days with freshly made cookies. In her retirement, Godden Alloway looks forward to spending more time with her family, especially her grandchildren.
As a special education teacher, Maida helped several generations of students with disabilities reach their full potential. Passionate about her work, Maida also taught education courses at Muscatine Community College, helping future special educators and other teachers learn how best to help their students of all abilities. Maida also loves the “Harry Potter” series of books, and led Madison’s Harry Potter club for several years. Zillig describes Maida as, “a kind, thoughtful soul,” and hopes she will enjoy additional family time after her retirement.
For the past 37 years, Nancy Schuler assisted Muscatine Community School District students as a paraprofessional. At Madison, Schuler worked with kindergartners, helping them to acclimate to life at school. A leader at her school Zillig said: “she has a passion for helping kids that she expresses in her outgoing spirit. She has an amazing work ethic that I will personally miss greatly.” Schuler looks forward to dedicating more time gardening, volunteering at her church, and doing activities with her family.
According to Zillig, the school’s instructional coaches felt strongly about celebrating the three retirees and found ways to do so through the reverse parade. “We are lucky that our building is conducive to a safe space to do it,” added Zillig. In the spirit of letting students say goodbye to staff moving on to the next chapter of their lives, the instructional coaches also included several teachers transitioning to new jobs both in and out of the district in the celebration as well. “We added several staff members to the parade who were moving on to other cities and roles in their careers as we didn’t really have a proper way to say goodbye and for the students to say goodbye,” explained Zillig.