A Columbia teacher who has affected almost three decades of youngsters is now retired, as Jeanie Culler called it quits at the end of the school year.
Culler taught second grade for 14 years and first grade for 13 years in Columbia at both Parkview and Eagleview elementary schools.
“Both grades were a joy, and I looked forward every day to being with the children and watching them grow in so many ways,” Culler said. “Walking into my classroom was an adventure. Something was always happening, and I had to be ready for anything.”
Culler started her teaching career in Ohio, working there for four years.
When she and her husband moved to the St. Louis area for his work, they settled in Columbia.
Culler worked as a private tutor and mom to two children before serving as substitute teacher for one year and aide for one year in Columbia.
After her year as an aide in kindergarten, Culler took the job as a second grade teacher.
“Working for the Columbia School District full-time was a dream come true, as the teaching staff and administration were amazing and I was honored to become a part of something so successful,” Culler said.
In her 27 years with the district, Culler said she always enjoyed her young students.
“Really getting to know my students was my biggest joy – sharing their smiles and successes, helping them through difficult times (and) getting to know their families,” she explained. “I have been so fortunate.”
Now that she is retired after over 33 years in education, Culler said she will also miss her colleagues, who she described as her “second family.”
“I will greatly miss my fellow teachers. The staff is very close, and I was a part of something extra special,” she said.
Culler said she is not sure what she plans to do with her time in retirement, but she is grateful to have that time.
“There are so many things that I want to do and having time to do them will be wonderful,” she said.