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Social studies teacher retires, son takes over

By Staff | Nov 15, 2010

Jay Frederickson (left) and Steve Frederickson

Along with the end of the first quarter at Blue Earth Area High School on Friday came the end of Steve Frederickson’s teaching career.

He’s encountered thousands of students over his 34 years of teaching, but now that a special rule allows it, Steve has decided to retire from the job.

In order to qualify for retirement, educators must meet the Rule of 90, which means their age plus the number of years they’ve been teaching is at least 90. Frederickson hit the mark on Nov. 1, but decided to finish out the first quarter of classes at BEA.

“It was a matter of convenience, both to me and the district,” Steve says, explaining that changing things up mid-year will save the school more money than if he had waited until the end of the year to leave, the more common choice by teachers.

“I’ve really enjoyed the career — no regrets — but I don’t foresee myself coming back to sub or get back at it full time. It’s time to go in a different direction.”

Steve Frederickson teaches a social studies class during his second-to-last week of school at BEA.

The social studies teacher has handed off the reins to a past student of his — his son, Jay.

“When I decided I was going to teach, there wasn’t anything else I was going to try to teach,” Jay says of his interest in social studies.

Although it’s common to see children taking over their parents’ jobs in terms of a family business, it isn’t a scenario often seen outside of those family operations. But no strings were pulled for Jay to get his dad’s job. He applied and interviewed as anyone else would need to, and the fact that he was a 2002 graduate of BEAHS and was familiar with the way things worked made him a quality candidate.

“Jay knew the system, so it was a pretty sure bet, I think,”?Steve says.

Jay will be taking over the 11th and 12th grade social studies classes his dad taught, as well as picking up a psychology class.

A 2006 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Jay already has some experience under his belt, having taught in Lake City for three years.

“He has been, and will continue to be, really good at making connections with kids,” Steve says about his son. “I’d certainly encourage him to have his own routines. Other than that, he doesn’t need a lot from me.”

Now that he won’t be at school at 8 a.m. every morning, don’t expect Steve to sit around and do any thumb-twiddling. He has already jumped back into work, this time as a professional painter.

“It’s not necessarily that I’m retiring, just changing jobs.”

Steve has worked with friend Gary Armon for the past four summers doing painting jobs, but with Steve having more time available, the two have decided to make a bigger business out of it.

F & A Painting is now more than just a seasonal operation, and offers both interior and exterior painting.

Even though he’s already moved on to other things, there are many parts of teaching that Steve won’t forget.

“The daily contact with kids. They’re so interesting,” he says. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them as people, not just students.”