Waterloo school secretary retiring after 20 years

At center, retiring school secretary Waleah Lich poses for a photo during her retirement party with longtime co-worker Susie Brinkmann (second from left) and three of the principals she has worked with over the years, from left, Ed Settles, Brian Smith and Nick Schwartz. (submitted photo)

Longtime Waterloo school secretary Waleah Lich is retiring Friday from a position that is near and dear to her heart.

“All this is hard for me, because I love my job and everyone here,” Lich said.

A retirement party was held Friday in her honor at Waterloo Country Club. More than 100 current and former co-workers and friends attended the event.

Lich started working for the Waterloo school district at what was then called Waterloo Middle School in 1992. Her first principal was Bill Saul. She started as the only secretary for more than 630 students until Susan Brinkmann joined her at what is now Rogers Elementary.

Lich said she first became involved with the district as a parent volunteer when her children attended Zahnow Elementary.

In February 1992, Saul asked Lich to be his secretary.

“I remained in the same position the entire time I worked for the district,” she said. “The name of the school was changed to Rogers Elementary, and as our district grew the grade levels housed in our building changed from third, fourth, fifth and sixth to third, fourth and fifth, and then to second and third.”

Along the way, Lich has worked for principals Saul, Ed Settles, Becky Keim, Nick Schwartz and Brian Smith.

“I have had five great bosses in my career and awesome co-workers,” Lich said. “I will especially miss the other secretary, my dear friend, Susan Brinkmann. The entire Rogers staff has been awesome. I was alwaysย  treated with the utmost respect and kindness. They are like family to me.”

Lich will also miss the daily interaction with parents of students, “many of whom were once students themselves at Rogers.”

Waleah and her husband, Lennie Lich, have three grown children: Aaron, Allison and Amanda.

Waleah said that although she has mixed feelings about retiring, she is excited about the next chapter in her life.

“I am looking forward to having the flexibility of being able to visit our girls and their families in the Chicago area, spending more time with our son and his family here in Waterloo, and hopefully finding some time to do a little traveling,” she said.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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