Four long-time St. James teachers retire

Sarah Bunich
St. James Plaindealer

Four long-time teachers in the St. James School District retired on June 3. Karen Lahti, Bev Carson, Cathy Bruce, and Elaine Krech ended their teaching careers at the end of this school year.

Long-time St. James Schools teachers who retired at the end of the school year are, top from left: Bev Carson and Karen Lahti. Bottom: Elaine Krech and Cathy Bruce.

Lahti taught music in St. James for 23 years. During her career Lahti taught a variety of instrumental programs, such as marches, classic wind ensemble and pep band music. She directed two jazz ensembles, one teaching ensemble for 7th-10th graders, and an upper level jazz ensemble.

Each day Lahti put her students first in order to give them the best music experince. 

“Mrs. Lahti worked exhaustively to give each student-musician her undivided attention,” said Karla Beck, High and middles school principal.

Lahti will now be spending her time traveling, hiking in Colorado, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Carson taught DCD (Developmental Cognitive Delay) in St. James School District Special Education Department for 27 years. She and the team of paraprofessionals worked as a team in their classroom. With this Carson was able to connect with her students on a social and emotional level. 

One of the highlights from Carson’s career was the holiday party her class room put on every year. Beck said the students helped plan the theme, decorations and trivia.

Even though Carson is officially retired as of this year, she will be coming back next year to work on student days.

Bruce taught for 43 years, the last 40 being in St. James, teaching music at the elementary school.  

“My time in St. James as a teacher has been very fulfilling,” said Bruce. “I have worked with many amazing staff and have enjoyed teaching the students at Northside.”

One of Bruce's highlights of teaching music was the annual Christmas concert. Bruce said this was a highlight for students and families as well.

Krech worked in St. James for her entire 35 year career. She started at the parochial school and after two years moved to the public school.

Krech said she made memories for herself and her students. One of these memories was doing archaeological digs with soil from Iowa.

With everything that Krech has done as a teacher she was even nominated twice for Teacher of the Year—in 2006 and 2020.

With teaching being such a big part of her life Krech hopes to continue with it after retiring by being a substitute teacher.