Sacred Heart School honors longevity of staff

As Sacred Heart celebrates Catholic Schools Week this week, they’re also taking the time to honor many teachers and staff for their years of dedication and service. (Photo submitted)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     As Sacred Heart Catholic School prepares to celebrate Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30 through Feb. 5), as well as the school’s 100th anniversary, it’s worth noting the longevity of many of the current teachers and staff serving the school.

     “It speaks to the love they have and their role helping children learn, and their commitment to the Sacred Heart community, students, and families,” praised Principal Susan Hucker. “We’re blessed to have people dedicated and focused on how to help kids progress and learn.”

     Hucker said they truly value the staff at Sacred Heart.

     Those being celebrated include:

     • Leanna Manternach, third grade, 33 years

     • JoEllen Schlarmann, school secretary, 28 years

     • Doris Porter, PreK, 20 years

     • Tim Hollett, P.E., 16 years

     • Cheryl Putz, first grade, 15 years

     • Joan Sauser, food service, 15 years.

     “I have always been the “designated” secretary,” recalled Schlarmann. “But, there are many undefined roles in a job description. In my case, that’s what makes a job interesting.”

     Schlarmann serves as a jack of all trades, helping and lending a hand where needed: janitorial services, lunch room, classrooms, crossing guard.

     “At my age, I’m so grateful for good health; I welcome the variety,” she said.

     Schlarmann recalled when she first started at Sacred Heart. She and her husband were building a house in town. She said working in town was only temporary… 28 years later, she still remains steadfast in her job at the school.

     In terms of what kept her around for so many years, Schlarmann offered, “After a couple of days on the job, getting frustrated on a tiny (computer) desktop, state requirements, etc., I decided to start on a letter of resignation when two girls came to my office with homemade cards telling me they ‘loved’ me and were glad I was here. How can you walk out on that?”

     She said it’s the people (staff, students, families and parishioners) who have made all the difference in her role at Sacred Heart.

     “I try to record some of my best comments from students,” said Schlarmann, “but that book would be a classic.”

     She also praises her fellow teaching staff for what they have had to endure the last couple of years.

     “Teachers are at a premium at all schools today – public and parochial,” she said. “I am so grateful to all teachers and our Sacred Heart teachers who choose to teach in a Catholic school.”

     Porter started working at Sacred Heart as both a preschool and PreK teacher.

     “Since then, our programs have grown so much that we have two full-time teachers,” she said. “And I teach PreK exclusively. I have worked with several different teacher associates, and have loved it!”

     Before coming to teach in Monticello, Porter was teaching at Aquin Preschool in Cascade.

     “I loved the thought of teaching in the community in which I lived and to be part of my church family,” she recalled.

     Porter said the family environment at Sacred Heart has kept her working here. She’s even taught children of some of her past students, as well as worked alongside a former student.

     “I love being able to see the children grow and learn all through their elementary school years and beyond. It is amazing to see my students eventually graduate from Monticello schools, and I can say I was part of the beginning of this journey.”

     Despite so many changes in education, Porter said she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else in her career.

     Putz has taught first grade since she started at Sacred Heart.

     “Going to Catholic school, as an elementary student, I saw the benefits firsthand of a Catholic education,” she said, “so I wanted to be part of a school that teachers the Catholic faith.”

     Putz said she’s enjoyed working with “all of the wonderful students and families” she’s been around throughout her years at the school.

     For the past 16 years, Hollett has always taught physical education at Sacred Heart.

     “I have worked for a variety of smaller schools, sharing in P.E.,” he said.

     When St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Earlville, Iowa, closed down, Hollett was notified of an opening at Sacred Heart in Monticello.

     “I have enjoyed watching the kids grow up,” he said. “Many of my students, I actually taught their parents when I substitute taught in the late 1980s at Monticello Middle School and High School.”

     Hollett shared a unique career experience of his own… “I taught with three teachers at Sacred Heart who were actually my students years ago.”

     Sauser started working at the school as a substitute cook. In 2005, she was hired as a food service employee. She remained in that job until 2011 when Linda Sauser retired. Then, she became head cook. In 2018, Linda Goedken retired, Sauser decided to step back again as a food service employee.

     “I was tired of all the paperwork and government guidelines that we had to follow,” she admitted.

     Sauser, herself, is a former Sacred Heart student, as are all three of her sons.

     “So the school has always been special to me,” she said of the history. “When I was approached to be a substitute cook to help them out, I thought why not!”

     Like so many, Sauser enjoys those she works alongside, and feels it really is the perfect part-time job for her.

     “We are off work by 1 p.m., have all the holidays and summers off, and the flexibility to take time off if needed,” she said. “I have nine grandchildren, and I love having the opportunity to spend more time with them.”


Subscriber Login