Educators retire after decades of service

Joyce Koch retired after serving 53 years in the Archdiocese of Louisville, including 29 years at Assumption High School. (Photo Special to The Record)

The Archdiocese of Louisville Office of Catholic Schools has announced the retirement of 41 educators. Among those retiring at the end of the 2020-2021 school year are nine educators who have served in Catholic education for more than 40 years and one who has served for 53 years.

Joyce Koch, information technology director at Assumption High School, has retired after 53 years as an educator. Koch started teaching in the archdiocese in 1968 and was hired in 1992 as a part-time teacher and technology coordinator at Assumption.

She served at Assumption for 29 years and was the information technology director for about 20 years.

She saw the school transition from dial-up internet access to wireless technology, from having a few computers to every student having a laptop, she said.

She recently guided the school through remote learning during the pandemic. About a year before the pandemic locked schools down last March, she had been working to get teachers trained to teach online.

She simply felt the school could benefit from it, she said. Koch could not have been more right, as schools became dependent on online learning during the pandemic.

“I felt so blessed that we’d done some of the things we did. We felt poised to take it on,” she said.

Koch said she’s loved “almost every minute” of her service to the archdiocese.

“I enjoyed it. I served in so many capacities. I was an elementary school teacher taking kids on field trips. I run into those kids now and they are doctors and lawyers,” she said.

Koch said she decided to make education her life’s work because she loves learning.

“I love learning and I wanted to help others to love learning,” she said, noting that her family is composed of educators.

Her husband Raymond Koch retired as a Catholic school teacher a few years ago after serving 32 years. One of her daughters is a high school teacher in the archdiocese and one is a university professor in Texas. Koch said, laughing, that together her family has given more than 100 years of service in education to the archdiocese.

Mary Lang, president of Assumption High School, said Koch built the school’s information technology program and department “from the ground up and fundamentally changed the way we teach and learn.”

Through the groundwork Koch laid over the years, Assumption was able to transition “seamlessly” to virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

“When you consider the fact that at the dawn of her career in 1968, the most sophisticated technology available was the rotary dial phone hanging on the kitchen wall, it’s incredible to consider the vast achievements she has accomplished, all without a roadmap,” said Lang.

She added that what sets Koch apart as an information technology director is that she’s a “teacher through and through.”

“Her goal is always to help the individual student — to learn, to improve and to achieve. She views technology as a conduit and means to making that happen,” said Lang.

 

Following is a listing of educators retiring after 20 or more years of service in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Retirements included in these listings were reported to the Office of Catholic Schools as of June 10.

 

40 or more years

Frank Ward, a teacher at Trinity High School, retired after 45 years.

Arnold Drury, an assistant principal at St. Xavier High School, retired after 45 years.

Diana Meyer, a teacher at St. Nicholas Academy, retired after 45 years.

Maggie Dipasquale, a teacher at St. Nicholas Academy, retired after 44 years.

Rick Knoop, a teacher at St. Xavier High School, retired after 43 years.

Steve Finch, a teacher at St. Nicholas Academy, retired after 42 years.

Mary Margaret Ralph, a teacher at Assumption High School, retired after 42 years.

Carol Nord, executive director of Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, retired after 40 years.

Debbie Walling, a teacher at Trinity High School, retired after 40 years.

 

30 or more years

Debbie Whatley, a guidance counselor at Sacred Heart Academy, retired after 38 years.

Gary Gruneisen, a teacher and campus ministry associate at St. Xavier High School, retired after 37 years.

Debbie Heaverin, a teacher at Trinity High School, retired after 35 years.

Terry Barney, a teacher at DeSales High School, retired after 35 years.

Jaime Beach, an academic support coach at DeSales High School, retired after 35 years.

Linda Lenahan, a librarian at Sacred Heart Academy, retired after 34 years.

Jeff Frazier, a teacher at Sacred Heart Academy, retired after 30 years.

 

20 or more years 

Mike Baete, a teacher at St. Raphael School, retired after 29 years.

Connie Whiteman, a learning needs coordinator at St. Joseph School in Bardstown, Ky., retired after 23 years.

Lucy Lorenz, a Spanish teacher at St. Aloysius School, retired after 23 years.

Donna Laemmle, a teacher at St. Margaret Mary School, retired after 23 years.

Melissa Oakes, a teacher at Notre Dame Academy, retired after 21.5 years.

Bob Beatty, a teacher and coach at Trinity High School, retired after 21 years.

Julianna Daly, principal at St. Agnes School, retired after 21 years.

Mary DeMuth, a teacher at St. Albert the Great School, retired after 20 years.

Valerie Barr, a teacher at St. Michael School, retired after 20 years.

 

10-plus

Mary Wardrip, a counselor at Presentation Academy, retired after 19 years.

Mary Vanegas, a teacher at Holy Spirit School, retired after 18 years.

Maryann Hayslip, principal at St. Aloysius School, retired after 18 years.

Stacy Tackett, principal at St. Michael School, retired after 15 years.

Theresa Neichter, a teacher at St. Xavier High School, retired after 15 years.

Jimmie Dee Kelley, assistant principal at St. James School in Elizabethtown, Ky., retired after 15 years.

Ray Martin, a teacher at Holy Spirit School, retired after 14 years.

Mary Ann Downs, dean of academics at Bethlehem High School in Bardstown, Ky., retired after 14 years.

Jan Wilmes, a teacher at St. Margaret Mary, retired after 14 years.

Theresa Murphy, a science teacher at St. Aloysius, retired after 12 years.

Kelly Matz, a teacher at St. Martha School, retired after 12 years.

Lynn Hamilton, a teacher at Bethlehem High School, retired after 11 years.

Bill Moore, a teacher at DeSales High School, retired after 10 years.

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