By Shari Friedel
With the completion of her 32nd year in education, elementary teacher Marcia Crofutt will retire from Perkins County Schools at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
Crofutt, who resides in Ogallala, began her career as a home economics instructor in Arthur County Schools in 1970 after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in home economics education.
For the next few years, she was a farm wife and caretaker of three young sons. She worked in daycare and preschool, and went back to school to become endorsed in elementary education.
Crofutt’s career in public schools picked up again in 1980 when she taught grades three-six at Rural District 2 in Ogallala.
From 1984-1989 she taught grades five and six at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Ogallala and came to Perkins County in 1989, where she has taught grades three-seven.
Something that one of her college instructors said has stuck with her throughout her career—“Every day is an opportunity to impact a young life. Be ready for the unexpected and learn to roll with the punches.”
Crofutt’s desire to teach began in childhood. Her mother was a rural schoolteacher, and Marcia spent many happy hours playing “school” at home.
Her childhood experience transferred to a desire to help students discover the world around them, and find out how and why things work the way they do. This has been the most enjoyable aspect of education to her.
Crofutt notes that the beginning and ending of her teaching career have a “water incident” in common.
While teaching at the country school near Ogallala, a slab of cement was installed for a basketball court about eight feet from the schoolhouse. With the first big rain, water was diverted toward the building and ran down a crack into the basement, where Crofutt’s classroom was located.
The class’s science project, incubated eggs, were hatching at the time.
“So about all we got done that day was mop water and watch baby chicks hatch,” she said.
This year, she returned to her room after Christmas vacation greeted by a broken water pipe in the heating system. Water was dripping from the ceiling and the carpet squished underfoot.
“That day was spent moving books and supplies out into the hall and into a temporary classroom.”
With many of her friends retiring, she found the idea of having some flexibility with her time very appealing.
Crofutt’s immediate plans include focusing on her garden and traveling to family graduations in Oregon and Nevada this summer.
Looking toward the long term, Crofutt plans to spend more time as a volunteer at church and community activities, and spend time with her children, which will require some traveling.
Son Kevin is in the army, stationed in North Carolina; Jesse is located in Portland, Ore., and Ross in Seattle.
When she isn’t traveling, Crofutt plans to be available for substitute teaching and is keeping her options open, considering any exciting or interesting possibility that may come her way.
“It has been a pleasure to be a part of Grant’s teaching community these past 22 years,” she said. “It is a great school system with a supportive community.”