Retirements honored within Kiowa County school systems

Hannah Brown
Kiowa County Signal
Laura Chadd poses with a table full of goodies at her reception on May 25. Chadd served 38 years in the district.

As the school year comes to a close for Haviland Grade School and Kiowa County Schools, five long time employees are retiring from the profession. Between the five employees, there are 145 years of dedicated service to the schools in the county. 

Haviland Grade School said goodbye to Laura Chadd. Chadd taught at USD 474 for 38 of her 41 years as an educator. In her 38 years at HGS, Chadd spent time as the 1st-grade teacher (16 years) and taught JH Math, Language Arts, and a variety of electives for 22 years.

Chadd said the people, all the students, parents, and staff that she was blessed to know through the years provided her favoite memories of time served in education.

She said she is now looking forward to spending time with her grandsons and traveling to places on her bucket list. 

Staci Derstein, Luke Derstein, Charlotte Clevenger, and Deb Cesmat are retiring from Kiowa Count Schools. Staci is currently the Superintendent and has worked in the district since 1991. She has worked in many capacities at KCS including teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. Staci is looking forward to not being on a schedule and having the time to go on adventures on her bike that she hasn't had time due to work. Staci said the best part of her job was also the people. 

"The people I worked with each day. Teachers took pride in helping their kids succeed and our Board of Education," said Staci. They care about kids and supporting staff. It has been a great district to be a part of for the last 30 years." 

Staci's husband, Luke Derstein, is also retiring from Kiowa County Schools. Luke has been at KCS since 1998. He has served as the head of maintenance for the last 23 years. Luke, much like Staci, is excited to take his bike out on new adventures and staying healthy in his retirement. Luke has gone through 23 school years and has enjoyed watching kids go through the ranks.

"I enjoyed interacting with the kids each day," said Luke. "It has been fun watching them grow up." 

Charlotte Clevenger and Deb Cesmat are also retiring from Kiowa County Schools. Clevenger has been with USD 422 since 1989, serving 32 years as the Reading Specialist. She has loved working from a very young age and has never spent much time thinking about retirement, but now that it's here, she is looking forward to spending time with family and friends, maybe going on vacation, and most importantly, spending her nights in her chair reading a book before it's time to hit the hay. She's enjoyed her students the most over the years. 

"The best part of working for the Greensburg district has been my students over the years.  As a reading specialist, I have had the opportunity to teach students in several different grade levels every year," said Clevenger. "It has been very rewarding to help students develop their reading skills.  I’ve appreciated the parents and all the wonderful people I’ve worked with over the years, too."

Cesmat worked in many roles throughout her 22 years at Kiowa County including working in the cafeteria, as a custodian, and in the transportation department. 

Chadd's time at HGS was honored with a reception on May 25, while Staci and Luke Derstein, Charlotte Clevenger, and Deb Cesmat retirements were celebrated on May 18 with a reception at the school.