“Straight away, I said, ‘I’m gonna like this lady,’” said Swartz, the current Norwalk Middle School principal and former NHS director of student activities.
Bennett, the music director for sixth through 12th grades, will retire effective July 31. She has been with the district for 28 years. For three years prior to that, Bennett was at Upper Scioto Valley. In November, the Norwalk school board approved Bennett’s retirement.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Norwalk Teachers Association President Sarah Furey announced the group had selected Bennett to be honored for her achievements. Also, the school board approved 12 days up to a maximum of two hours per day at the negotiated member rate for transition time for Bennett after July 1.
Also, League Elementary fourth-grade teachers Lisa Martin and Lindsay Pigman honored school volunteers Becky Resor and Candee White as the NTA Friends of Education. Resor and White received plaques and then administrators and board members thanked them.
The Friends of Education were honored for not just assisting League students, but those throughout the district.
“They didn’t just start in the fourth grade,” said Pigman, noting the pair are known for cutting, laminating, organizing, decorating, sorting — whatever needs to be done in the school.
Martin said she’s been able to plan lessons for her students because of their help.
“We appreciate you so much,” Pigman added.
While honoring Bennett, Swartz said students respect her and noted how refreshing it was to see Bennett teaching with the enthusiasm of a much younger educator — not someone who is about to retire. He shared an anecdote from when a student who never had been in one of Bennett’s classes told him she would miss her.
“That’s the kind of influence she has,” Swartz added.
Also, Cari Beers, an intervention specialist at NHS, was named Norwalk Teachers' Association Teacher of the Year.