The rest of the school year will likely be somewhat sentimental for Pat Hittle, the current Dean of Students at Watertown-Mayer Elementary School, who recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the year.
Hittle’s resignation, which becomes effective June 30, 2014, was accepted “with great respect and appreciation” by the Watertown-Mayer School Board during a special meeting held on Feb. 10.
“I feel privileged to have been a part of District 111 for the past 34 years,” Hittle wrote in a letter to Superintendent David Marlette that was shared with the board. “I appreciate all the opportunities to serve the students and families of Watertown-Mayer. We have a dedicated and caring community of teachers, administrators and parents and I am lucky to have been a part of it.”
Hittle’s career in the field of education has spanned almost four decades.
She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn. in December 1976 and started her teaching career at St. Anthony Village High School teaching physical education and health. At St. Anthony Village, Hittle also coached varsity gymnastics and varsity track.
“The following year, I did long term subbing in the Chaska District and was the head of the MinneHops Gymnastics program based in what is now Glen Lake,” said Hittle, who followed that up with another long-term subbing position at Minnetonka West Jr. High where she taught phy. ed and health and coached varsity gymnastics.
In July 1980, Hittle interviewed with Dr. Leon Tuominen and started her career at Watertown-Mayer.
“I taught elementary PE for 29 years and coached varsity gymnastics for eight years,” said Hittle, who has also coached middle school track for five years.
“For the last 15 years, I have worked at all the volleyball, boys basketball, girls basketball, wrestling and gymnastics events scoring, running the scoreboard and, if needed, announcing,” she continued. “My husband, Dave Niermann, joins me at the basketball games and announces the games. We joke that if he wanted to ever see me during the winter evenings, he would have to come to the games! We make a good team.”
In August 2008, Hittle was offered the position of Dean of Students at the elementary school.
“It was the biggest yes I have ever said,” she recalled. “But this community of educators, administration, parents and students were so supportive. With their help, I have been blessed to be able to grow as a professional and to have the opportunity to work with the most amazing staff.”
Hittle mentioned the importance of a quote she has kept on her whiteboard in her office.
“It has been there the entire time I have been Dean of Students: ‘It is the people, not the programs that determine the quality of the school.’ This has been my guiding philosophy and I am so honored to recognize and remember all the students, families, staff and administration that have been a part of my journey,” she said.
Both of Hittle’s daughters, Kate and Lauren, graduated from Watertown-Mayer High School.
“They received a great education and are both doing well. I think being from the small community gave them a solid base of support and confidence. They still talk about the impact that many of their teachers had on them,” she said.
A discussion on how the district will replace Hittle was held during the regular board meeting on Monday, Feb. 24. After discussing the matter, the board voted 6-1 to transfer Marnie Pauly, the current principal of the primary school, to the elementary school effective July 1, 2014 and hold an open interview process for both in-house and outside candidates to fill a Dean of Students position at the primary school.
Additional details on this topic and the rest of the meeting will appear in next week’s Carver County News.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]