Valuable school district employee ending career
Waterloo School District office manager Laverne Pflueger would never leave her job given the choice.
Unfortunately, Pflueger, 65, needs to move on to the next chapter in her life — retirement. She will retire on Dec. 31.
“I’m not leaving because I don’t like my job. I love my job,” Pflueger told the Republic-Times.
The Waterloo resident began working for the school district nearly 24 years ago when Billy Taylor, the superintendent at the time, hired her on as accountant and payroll clerk.
“I told him that I wasn’t interested at first, but then he told me, ‘Twenty years from now, you might wish you had at least thought about taking this job,’” Pflueger said.
Now, she knows Taylor helped her make the right decision.
“I can only share nice comments about my bosses,” she said. “They’ve all been great to me and to our staff. The most important part of their character that I admire most was that all of the superintendents I worked for have always made critical decisions with the students always being considered first.”
Taylor introduced her to the challenges of working with the school budget and the nuances of the annual district tax levy, using his skills as an educator to make the items palatable. Pflueger added that these concepts became routine with practice.
“He was a teacher at heart, so he taught me a lot about how the school district functions financially,” Pflueger said.
After that came Wayne Collmeyer, then Jim Helton and now Brian Charron. Charron told the Republic-Times that Pflueger has played a critical role in helping him during his transition to the superintendent position.
“I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her,” Charron said. “I am also extremely fortunate to be able to call Laverne my friend.”
“I don’t think Brian really wants me to retire — I understand that it’s kind of like you get to know a person so well that I just know what he needs me to do,” Pflueger said. “He doesn’t have to ask.”
Pflueger’s initiative is matched by her passion for serving the district.
“What I enjoy and respect more than anything when it comes to Laverne is her true dedication to the overall health of the school district,” Charron said.
The district employee wore many hats through the years, creating job descriptions and district forms, serving as the school board’s executive assistant, managing the school board’s web pages, putting out legal notices and many other activities.
One major project Pflueger undertook was changing the district unit office financial systems from DOS to Microsoft Windows.
“That was quite a huge accomplishment,” she said.
Spending many years working in the Waterloo school system, she grew to appreciate the kind of education Waterloo offers to students.
“You’re not going to find a better system than our schools,” she said. “And I’m not just saying that because I work here.”
Part of the reason Pflueger thinks of Waterloo as tops in the area for education revolves around the school board. In her many years with the district, Pflueger saw a total of 12 school board elections, with different board members coming and going.
“The board of education spends countless volunteer hours trying to make the right educational decisions that support all of our students and staff,” she said. “I wish they were thanked more often for their sincere dedication to our students and staff.”
Pflueger also said proudly that every one of her four children graduated from Waterloo High School. Their names are Angie Eckart, Arnold Pflueger, Jr., Scott Pflueger and Carrie Breitenstein.
Her retirement will consist of spending a lot of time with her grandchildren and traveling.
In February, she and husband Arnold Pflueger Sr. will celebrate 50 years of marriage.
“People should be really proud of Waterloo,” she said. “The community needs to be thanked because they have always supported their children’s education at our school. If your community doesn’t support your schools, then it really affects our children’s education.”