Walking through Building 16’s hallways, there are new faces every year. But for the past two decades, one person has been a constant: second-grade teacher Joann Hershberger. After influencing the lives of hundreds of parents and students alike, Hershberger has made the difficult decision to retire.
“I know that I’m gonna miss the kids so much. That’s going to be a big change in my life. But there was a day that I was just having a rough day and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe it’s time,’” Hershberger said.
A natural at working with children, Hershberger realized that she wanted to be a teacher while working as an aide at an elementary school in Indiana.
“The principal came to watch me one day, and he said, ‘Oh my goodness, Joann, you gotta go get your license. You have to be a teacher,’” Hershberger said.
With a new goal in mind, Hershberger enrolled in college at Indiana University. She found it difficult to get back into academia after taking years off, but she worked hard until she successfully finished her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
“I remember when I first started in 1995 and I just thought, ‘Wow, I’m actually getting paid to do a job that I absolutely love.’ And I was always so happy to come to work and be with the kids,” she said.
Throughout her teaching career, Hershberger has had the unique opportunity to watch many of her students grow up and advance through middle and high school. Eleventh-grader Arya Gupta was in Hershberger’s second-grade class almost a decade ago and still enjoys seeing her former teacher around the Pine View campus.
“I loved her. I thought she was super sweet and she would always give us candy every single day at the end of class,” Gupta said.
Hershberger met fellow second-grade teacher Misty Tucak in her first year teaching at Pine View. For the past three years, they have worked on the second grade team together, notably creating collaborative book clubs between their two classes.
“To have a seasoned teacher is always wonderful because they know the right questions to ask and they know how to help younger [teachers] and people who are just beginning to teach,” Tucak said. “I would say she’s probably the rock of the second grade team.”
Hershberger will be greatly missed by the entire Pine View community, but in the years to come, she hopes to continue working with children and helping them towards a brighter future. Even in retirement, Hershberger plans to keep busy — her plans include traveling to the Grand Canyon, visiting infants in the NICU, and seeing her granddaughter.
This article is linked to a QR code that appears in print on May 20, 2022, News, Page 4, of the Torch with the headline: Joann Hershberger.