We are grateful these world-class educators chose to dedicate their careers to sharing their love of learning with our students and community.
As the school year comes to a close, we want to take a few moments to thank four retiring teachers for their dedication to our students, and the MV community. Pre-kindergarten/Junior-kindergarten Teacher Kitsy Choka, Upper School Math Teacher David Hanson, Lower School Physical Education Teacher and Coach Terri Herrmann, and Upper School Strings Teacher Tom Sieberg will retire at the end of the year. Collectively, they have served Maumee Valley for a combined 91 years! We are grateful these world-class educators chose to dedicate their careers to sharing their love of learning with our students and community.
Maumee Valley Country Day School has had a profound impact on Kitsy Choka ‘75 and her family.
The Lower School Resource Center is named after her grandmother – Kathleen Blakey – who was the Lower School librarian. Both of Choka’s children were "lifers."
“It’s meant everything – Maumee Valley itself changed my life. I was at a different school and I came here in high school and it’s hard to put into words what Maumee Valley is. It’s an unusual place filled with wonderful characters,” Choka said. “Its diversity in people and how they think and feel and just the acceptance that everyone can have their own viewpoint. I didn’t have that at my other school. When I came here it was nice to learn to be myself and the teachers when I was in high school were amazing.”
Now after 28 years of teaching at MV, Choka plans to retire at the end of the school year. Choka started as an assistant prekindergarten teacher and has been part of the legacy of innovation at MV.
“Education has really come full circle. I’ve seen every change. When I first started as a lead teacher – we did not have a director of the Early Learning Center. We had a coordinator and we just team-taught,” she said. “There’s always something moving, something changing and I guess that’s what’s exciting about teaching is it’s not really ever the same. Even if you teach the same topic year after year there are so many different ways to teach it and it depends on the children. There is never a chance to get bored.”
Every student who had Choka as a teacher can remember a specific time when she made them feel comfortable and a part of the MV community.
“For me, MVCDS began with you,” said Gabe Begeman ‘22. “My first day was rhyme day. You welcomed me into a room filled with possibility. I am grateful for every lesson, every smile. Happy Retirement!”
When Michelle Thomas became Head of the Early Learning Center, Choka credited her vision and energy as the reason Choka kept teaching for the last three years.
“She had some pretty exciting ideas, introducing forest school – it’s been really fun,” Choka said. “I think the new administration has made a big difference in the school and I only see it going up from here.”
There are hobbies Choka wants to get back to in retirement – including reading for fun and playing the piano. She said she will enjoy not having to set an alarm and spending time with her grandchildren.
“I always thought when I stopped enjoying it that would be the time, but I still enjoy it – it’s just getting harder. I’m tired,” Choka said. “I feel like it’s time for someone else with more energy to come in and take over. I will miss it, but 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds take a lot of patience and a lot of energy. It’s time for the next person.”
We hope you enjoy retirement, Kitsy!
David Hanson lived the school's personal, experiential and global vision and all of us – his students and his peers – are better for it.
After 18 years at Maumee Valley and 45 years in education, Hanson will retire at the end of the school year. He started his career in education when he went into the Peace Corps after college. After moving to a different country and international school every three-to-six years, Hanson came back to the U.S. so his daughter could graduate from an American high school.
“I wanted a school that felt like an international school – a lot of diversity, interesting kids, kids from different places,” Hanson said. “When I came to Maumee Valley, you could see kids sitting around in the hallways and stuff, but then you listen closely and they were talking about chemistry reports and things like that. Their minds were always working on something.”
Who wouldn’t love learning advanced math when you have the opportunity to try your luck at a few pulls on the slot machine in Hanson’s classroom? Hanson and his wife plan to move to Las Vegas to be closer to their son.
“I loved it here. I got to teach all these higher-level math classes, which I like to do and the big draw here is the kids are just so nice. You enjoy talking to the kids,” Hanson said. “I’ll miss the colleagues and the students and I’ll miss the neighborhood.”
From one of Hanson’s colleagues in the Upper School:
“David is an exceptional teacher who always finds time to help his students, his peers, and his school. His experience living and teaching overseas, his affable personality and his ability to make math accessible to all have been hallmarks of his time at Maumee Valley. Mr. Hanson knows math and loves people so it is no surprise that his courses engage students in an authentic manner. He creates an environment where his students want to be in his class, they want to learn, and they find joy in the whole process.”
David, we hope you enjoy your retirement in Vegas!
It wasn’t necessarily the way she had planned to do it, but Early Learning Center and Lower School Physical Education Teacher and Lower School Director of Athletics Terri Herrmann will retire at the end of the year.
Her husband has a job opportunity that will move them to Tennessee.
“I’ve taught here 35 years. I love my job. I love teaching at Maumee Valley,” Herrmann said. “I’ve lived a blessed life here at Maumee Valley both in the Lower School gym and on the coaching courts and coaching fields – I couldn’t want for more. I’ve had a great time.”
Herrmann started coaching field hockey at Maumee Valley Country Day School in 1986 and coached through the fall of 2021. She also coached basketball at all levels, baseball, and primary track and field.
Athletic Director Rob Conover said Herrmann has been at the school at 7:30 a.m. each day and often leaves at 8 p.m. or later and she did so for 35 years.
"It is a daunting and nearly impossible task to think of the extent of Terri Herrmann's impact over her time at MV. She spends her day with our Lower School kids giving them the best physical education they could ever receive only to spend her free time after school either coaching field hockey or running after-school sports activities for our lower school students," Conover said. "She has impacted thousands of kids, is always willing to do more, and has the best interest of our kids at the forefront. She puts her heart and soul into every kid, and as a father of three students at MV and a fellow employee, I can't thank her enough for what she does."
The warmer weather in Tennessee will allow Herrmann to shave a few strokes off of her golf game.
She also looks forward to improving her skills on guitar, which she started two years ago.
“I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve been able to teach in a really spectacular school that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve worked with amazing administrators and teachers and I’ve had incredible students and players,” Herrmann said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to teach anywhere else. It’s been a dream job and I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Congratulations on your retirement, Terri!
Anyone inside MV before school over the last decade has most likely heard strings students preparing numbers under the tutelage of Tom Sieberg.
Sieberg purposefully left the doors open in order for the hallways to be flooded with beautiful music being made by his students.
“When I took this assignment – I had already retired from public schools. I had been there for 35 years and I really wasn’t looking for another job, but Mrs. Sieberg needed my help here and I said fine,” Tom said. “I fell in love with it and it turned into a job and here I am. It’s been a great addition to my teaching career – it’s really been the icing on the cake.”
Sieberg came to MV after teaching at Toledo Public Schools for 35 years. He’s also been playing professionally with the Toledo Symphony for 45 years.
Originally from Fremont, Sieberg said he is retiring to spend more time with his adult children and first grandchild.
Sieberg went to college to study both piano and violin, with the dream of playing professionally. Teaching, Sieberg said, was his fallback plan.
“Not only has it been a wonderful experience with the teaching, with the kids, but this whole place – I’ve been associated with Maumee Valley for over 40 years – my kids went here, Colleen taught here forever – so it’s become family,” he said. “I really hope it continues to be. I am worried about a little separation anxiety as far as that goes, but it has to happen. It’s time for new leadership here. I feel like I’ve done my part. We’ve had such amazing kids here – just one degree south of professional – it’s just a very good bunch.”
Congratulations on your retirement, Tom!
Please take a moment to share your gratitude with our retiring faculty.