Longest-serving North Bend Elementary School teachers to retire
June 7, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
Ask North Bend Elementary School teachers Andrea Stein and Alan Tepper why there won’t be a 30th and a 46th year, respectively, teaching and they both say the same thing.
Time to do something else. Time to enjoy the grandchildren, Stein said. Time to figure out what else to do, Tepper said.
“You know why they call it the present?” asked Tepper, a physical education teacher. “Because you can unwrap it whenever you are ready, and I will unwrap it a bit at a time.”
Stein, a kindergarten teacher, said she is ready.
“You have to find the time when it feels right,” she said. “This is the year it feels right.”
Stein and Tepper have become the unofficial deans of North Bend Elementary. Tepper arrived in North Bend in 1980, Stein arrived four years later.
They never strayed, from the school and from their area of expertise: P.E. and kindergarten
Tepper went on to create a spectacular legacy with the Panther Pride unicycle program, even performing in front of thousands of people at Husky games.
Stein went on to give hundreds of children that vital first taste of school life known as kindergarten.
“I like the challenge of starting with the children when they come in not knowing anything about a large school with lots of people,” she said. “I have always enjoyed seeing the children grow and kindergarten is a year of great growth.”
Tepper said he never felt tempted to teach any other age group.
“I had my opportunity to teach middle-schoolers and high-schoolers through coaching,” he said. “That way, I’ve had the best of both worlds.”
As Tepper’s class and Stein’s age group require it, both teachers exude a steady energy, even decades after Stein’s first year teaching in Tacoma and Tepper’s first year, on the East Coast, in 1967.
“It keeps you young,” Stein said. “You have to keep moving all the time. You don’t have to sit down much during the day.”
With their final year inside a classroom coming to a close, Stein praised Tepper’s gift for helping children reach their potential. Tepper praised Stein’s love and enthusiasm for children.
And colleagues praised them both.
“She has a way of letting kids blossom at their own pace,” North Bend Elementary librarian Lisa Radmer said. “She gets them started in their careers at school.”
Teacher Tom Fladland wrote in an email that Tepper was “the gold standard” of P.E. teaching and teaching in general.
“He will be greatly missed by both staff and students alike,” Fladland wrote.