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Missouri teacher retiring after nearly 60 years in the classroom

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 7:18 PM CDT|Updated: May. 27, 2022 at 7:44 AM CDT
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CENTERVIEW, Mo. (KCTV) - A teacher at Crest Ridge Secondary School has been with the district for nearly six decades.

Juanita Peaslee, 89, started teaching in the district in 1964. She currently teaches high school science classes, but has taught several different grade levels over the years.

“Teaching keeps me busy,” Peaslee said. “It keeps me out of trouble.”

Peaslee said she became a teacher, at least in part, out of necessity. When she graduated with a science degree, there were few professional options for women. She taught for a year in Boston before moving back to her hometown for a teaching job and never looked back.

“I learn something every day from those students,” Peaslee said.

Crest Ridge’s last day of class was Thursday. The school celebrated with a traditional end of the year competition between high school classes. Peaslee watched from the corner of the gym, laughing and cheering. She said she would miss the energy and excitement of the students.

Her students will miss her, too.

Keghan Rogers, who will be a junior next year, said, “I love Mrs. Peaslee. She’s so sweet, and she’s so smart.”

Her colleagues said Peaslee was almost always the first staff member at the building every day. Some of them had even had her as a teacher when they were in junior high or high school.

Her favorite area of study is spiders. Her classroom is full of stuffed arachnids gifted to her over the years.

Peaslee said she was retiring to spend a little time traveling.

The high school interrupted the games on the last day for a goodbye to the longtime teacher. She received a standing ovation as the students chanted, “Peaslee! Peaslee!”

“I could wring their necks some days,” she joked. “But, I love them all.”