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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Garrison to exchange pencil for fishing pole

Friday, November 24, 2006

(Photo)
BILL GARRISON
THAYER -- After 24 years working as a teacher, coach and administrator, Thayer Superintendent of Schools Bill Garrison is retiring.

Garrison graduated from Couch High School in 1959.

"My first teaching position was at Koshkonong where I coached and taught history. From there I joined the military for three years. I taught history at Ava High School until 1976," he said.

Garrison owned his own business until he took a principal/teaching job at Oak Ridge Central for the 1989-90 school year.

"In 1990 I came back home to Couch and worked as principal there until 1997. I then went to Thayer where I was high school principal for three years. I have been superintendent at Thayer the past seven years," he said.

Garrison said he always wanted to be a teacher. "I always liked history and always liked politics but I never wanted to be a politician," the superintendent said.

Garrison said he has seen some changes in the educational system in the last 24 years. "Education makes cycles. Priorities change," he said. He said he has seen changes such as an emphasis on academics change to an emphasis on vocational studies, back to academics.

"One of the most significant changes I have seen is the accountability of the performance by students. The state is better at making sure schools are on the right track," he said.

"Each younger generation has a different set of problems. Our students' performance today has more to do with family. Families these days are involved in a lot of activities and sometimes education is put on the back burner or comes in second to something the family thinks is more important," Garrison said.

He said he has been lucky and that the people in Thayer still show great support for education. "They showed their support a couple of years ago when they passed the bond issue that allowed us to build the new elementary school."

"As educators, I think in the past we took a lot of things for granted. Just look at the violence that has occurred in school districts, some not so far from here. The level of violence at schools has changed and schools these days need to be more aware," Garrison said.

The superintendent said technology is the biggest change he has seen in the educational process in the last 24 years. "Technology and the issues brought with technology have caused change. What people need to understand is that technology itself is not what needs to be learned. It needs to be used as a tool. What is learned in the classroom is the important thing," he said.

What will he do when his retirement becomes official July 1? "I want to do some things around the place. I haven't got to fish much the last 30 years and I am looking forward to that. Our travel has been limited. We haven't even taken much time off from work for a vacation. There are also a couple of granddaughters I intend to spend quite a bit of time with," he said

Garrison's wife Betty retired from teaching at Thayer a couple of years ago. His son Brent, a chiropractor at Mammoth Spring, and his wife Cindy, a Thayer Elementary School teacher have two daughters, Carley and Abbie.



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