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Three teachers retire at Blue Earth Area this year

By Staff | Jun 16, 2008

These three Blue Earth Area School teachers finished their education careers last week and retired from the district. Left to right are Judy Bailey (elementary special education), Janet Zabel (elementary classroom) and Liz Enger (middle school English/language arts).

They didn’t all start at the same time. They didn’t all get to Blue Earth Area Schools the same way. They also didn’t teach for the same number of years.

What Liz Enger, Janet Zabel and Judy Bailey do have in common is that they all retired from teaching last week.

Enger was the English/language arts teacher in the middle school. Zabel was an elementary classroom teacher. Bailey was the elementary special education instructor.

Enger taught for four years at Elmore Public School, in the high school, when she first started teaching. Then she took a 10 year hiatus.

After that, she came to Blue Earth and taught English, composition and speech for 16 years.

Enger grew up in Plainview, and graduated from Winona State University.

She has four grown children; two boys, Ben and Nick, and twin daughters, Christine and Lindsey. All except Lindsey, who lives on the west coast, are in the Rochester area. Enger moved to Lake City at the end of the school year.

Zabel has served the longest in the Blue Earth Area District, coming here 32 years ago. She served her first year as a para, and has taught fifth and fourth grade since then.

Before coming to Blue Earth, Zabel taught two years on the island of Guam, and one year in Nebraska. She is a Winona State graduate.

Zabel and her husband Gene have two children, Jay and Brett.

Bailey traveled a long road to get to Blue Earth. She is a native of Massachusetts, and a graduate of the University of Massachusetts. She also has a masters degree from Wheelock College in Boston.

Bailey came to Blue Earth when she and a friend decided to teach in a different state, just to see another part of the U.S. They were interviewed by then- Superintendent Ken Queensland over the phone and hired.

The friend lasted one year, went back to Massachusetts, and now lives in California. Bailey met and married her husband, and stayed.

Bailey has taught in Blue Earth for 21 total years, but took a 16 year hiatus from teaching to raise a family. She has two grown children, Megan and Nathan.

In 2000 Bailey returned to teaching. She has taught first and second grade as well as Title I in the past.

All three said that they have no regrets about retiring, and don’t think they will miss teaching next fall.

“It’s time to move on and try new things,” Zabel said. “We all enjoyed teaching, but it is time for us to go.”

All three have grandchildren and are looking forward to spending more time with them. They also have several hobbies and interests and will now have time to spend enjoying them.