Two North Elementary faculty members retire


Amanda Tafolla-Sutton

Mary Kay Brauer & Teresa Crowder

With the 2015-16 school year complete, two long-time faculty members will be retiring from Sidney Public Schools beginning this summer.

After graduating with her master's in learning disability from the University of Northern Colorado, Teresa Crowder began her teaching career in 1986. Crowder taught for seven years in Colorado before moving to Nebraska in 1993 to join Sidney Public Schools as a special education teacher at South Elementary School.

While Crowder started in Sidney teaching special education, she eventually put her bachelor's in music to use by transitioning into teaching music.

She then spent five years at Leyton Public Schools teaching music and special education before finally returning to Sidney where she spent time in North and South elementaries as well as the middle school teaching music.

The ability to connect with students one on one, Crowder said, was one of her favorite things about teaching special education.

"You have the students over a period of years, so you really got to know them and their families," Crowder said.

Crowder's passion for music is personified in her personal life as well. She sings in the choir at her church, teaches piano lessons and even started a early childhood music program, all of which she plans on continuing in her retirement.

"Its exciting to see kids grow and progress," said Crowder, having spent sixteen years in the Cheyenne County area teaching students.

Belinda Westfall, principal of North and South elementaries, said Crowder shared her love of music with her students "by focusing on singing, exploring various musicians, performing and playing instruments."

"We will miss her joyous music," Westfall said.

Crowder said now that she's retired, she is going to spend time with her grandkids who, after her husband Joe Brauer retires, plan to stay in the Sidney area.

Accompanying Crowder in retirement is Mary Kay Brauer, Director of Guidance with Sidney Public Schools.

Brauer said the thing she will miss the most is helping the students and the things they would say.

Brauer began her teaching career at the young age of twenty as an English teacher in Herman, Mo. She pursued her guidance classes at night towards her master's in secondary guidance counseling, and shortly after, her master's in elementary guidance counseling.

Brauer began her career in guidance counseling in 1978 in Missouri, but after meeting her husband in 1981, she gave up her home state and moved with him to Nebraska where she started her thirty-five year career with Sidney Public Schools.

Brauer was also one of the first female counselors in what was at the time a strictly male-dominated field.

"When I interviewed here all the counselors in the district where men," she said. "I was Sidney's first woman counselor. Now, when Im leaving, they are all woman counselors. To me, that's a big change."

Westfall said Brauer spent her career cheering on students as a child advocate with a kind and compassionate heart.

"Her positive approach, friendly smile and kind words will be missed," she said.


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