Teachers, administrators, bus drivers, custodians and central office staff may all be finishing the last day of school Friday and getting ready for a school-less summer, but some will be saying goodbye to the school system for good.
Forsyth County Schools honored 66 employees on their retirement from the district last week at an annual reception that the retirees, their principals, coworkers, families and the Board of Education and superintendent attend.
“It is important that we take time every spring to honor the men and women who have faithfully served the children of our school system,” Superintendent Jeff Bearden said. “Many of them have worked their entire adult lives in Forsyth County schools. We appreciate their commitment and dedication and wish them all a very healthy and happy retirement.”
Who is retiring?
9 food service assistants
12 bus drivers/transportation department staff
1 assistant principal
Retirees are finishing careers in elementary, middle and high schools, in classrooms, cafeterias and buses.
Garry Puetz is one of those who will soon walk out of his office for the last time after 23 years in public school transportation services.
The director of transportation for the district had been in charge of making and adjusting bus routes and making sure every child on every bus remained safe.
“I’ll miss working with just the absolute commitment that everyone in Forsyth has to work together to meet our students’ needs,” Puetz said. “I worked with lots of great employees who are focused on protecting our students, and I will miss working with them toward achieving our mission.”
Puetz came to Forsyth County Schools in November 2003 after a three-year stint in DeKalb County and six years in Gwinnett County before that.
“Frankly, I needed a job,” he said of his beginnings in public schools’ transportation departments. “There was an opportunity and it was for Gwinnett, and they’re great, as well, and so I interviewed. And I learned a lot from my team members.”
He said watching the county and school system grow over the years has been the “most amazing” part of his career, “not just the number of kids or the number of staff but in terms of it becoming a world-class school system.”
“Not every school system embraces their non-classified folks and the importance of the job they do, but Forsyth County does,” he said. “That understand the transportation people, the custodians, the food service people, they all have very important jobs, and they’re meeting needs of students, as well.”
Puetz said he is excited to sleep past 5:30 a.m. The transportation department opens at that time every school day to get the buses ready and on the road, and “we close up shop by 5:30 p.m., and we’re still running trips after that.”
“We’re gonna take it easy,” he said. “My wife and I may travel a little, but we’re not going to rush into anything. She’s already retired from last year, but we’re going to enjoy some free time for once.”