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Tom Pantera | Johnson Publications

One of the things that lured Wauneta-Palisade fifth-grade teacher RanDee Barger (left) out of retirement, at least for a semester, was a chance to be a mentor for her successor, Hannah Nordhausen

Retired teacher Barger returns to classroom

Like a veteran firehorse, when the Wauneta-Palisade
School District needed her, RanDee Barger answered the bell.
    Not that it didn’t take some persuasion.
    “I got a call from Mr. Geier this summer,” Barger said. “He did a really good job of convincing me to come back for four months.”
    Barger retired before last year after teaching in the district since 1989, but has come back to her fifth-grade classroom for the first semester so she can supervise her replacement, Hannah Nordhausen, will graduate this year with her teaching degree but already has been hired as the new fifth-grade teacher.
    Barger had been looking forward to retirement so she could “go home and work on quilts for grandchildren and sub when they needed me,” she said. But the chance to guide Nordhausen at the dawn of her teaching career ultimately lured her back into the classroom.
    Randy Geier, the district superintendent, “told me this would be a really good opportunity for me to mentor a young girl who really wanted to teach, and she does. She’s a natural. When you graduate from college in three and a half years, you’re motivated.”
    Not that there weren’t other reasons for her return as well. Barger started teaching kindergarten and has since taught every grade but fourth and “I love them all,” she said,

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