A member of the Jamestown Public School District educational community is heading into retirement.
Connie Foster has worked with the for 31 years and will be retiring to focus on family and other important tasks and issues. She has worked in a variety of fields including Jamestown High School, Washington Middle School, Ring Elementary School, and Love Elementary School. She has held several roles, including as a teacher, deputy director, director and coordinator of world languages.
“I really enjoyed the PBIS assemblies both at Ring and at Love, where they were just fun and exciting” said Foster. “At the same time, we were teaching the children to be respectful, responsible and safe. These assemblies were fun. I really enjoyed the opportunities to go to classes and interact with children and adults. One of the best things is that as a teacher you do your best to teach – and then as a principal you come in and watch people teach. I watched a lot, a lot of what I would call great teachers – I told people I would be a better teacher today because of all the good examples and good teaching techniques and everything I witnessed by observing the teachers. . “
Foster began his educational career in Idaho Falls and Phoenix, Arizona. She worked part time, which allowed her to spend more time with her children.
“I just had my children at that time” said Foster. “A lot of those jobs in those early years were part-time, and to stay part-time, I did half a day of kindergarten and took a Title One program part-time. I changed jobs a lot so I could keep this part-time base very early on, but when I got to Jamestown I went straight to high school, straight to high school.
She started out as a high school Spanish teacher, which she had never done before. She then moved on to teaching English as a second language. For this reason, the English language learning curriculum is very important to her, and she hopes that the district will continue to focus on this element of education.
“My big push would be to continue working to be unified as a community and be sensitive to the cultural diversity we have in Jamestown”, she said.
Foster has said throughout her tenure at Jamestown Public Schools that she is happy to tackle the changes and challenges that come with each new position.
“Every time I have changed jobs, whether in teaching or in administration, I have the impression that there is so much learning and that the learning part not only allows you to stay cool and keep your brain active – I found myself saying, “This is my new favorite position,” said Foster. “It’s exciting for me to see how the pieces fit together, and as we tried to solve the pandemic problem and manage the schools, it was only a very difficult, but rewarding time. We had a lot of success, even though there were a lot of things that weren’t great – we had a lot of success with what we were doing and keeping the kids sick. Even though we lost a lot academically, we made gains because we were so focused on our program. “
Foster has had a big impact on the district as a whole, said Marcella Centi, a teacher at CC Ring Elementary School.
“Loved every time I got to chat with Connie,” Centi said. “She was always so calm about everything. I remember many times seeing her as an exhausted, frustrated and sometimes tearful teacher and she listened calmly for as long as I needed even though I knew she had a million things to do. She arrived early and stayed late. We would often find her husband Doug waiting in front of his desk, with the same patience she had, even after dinner time, for her to finish the day and be ready for tomorrow.
She said Foster has “a heart for children and their families and the integrity to always do the right thing.” Centi said Foster had a knack for making families feel welcome and loved, and his bilingual skills ensured “All voices have been heard and needs have been met”.
“She has always been a hard worker” Centi said. “She has dedicated her life to this school system, devoting time, energy and heart to it far beyond what one would expect. She helped me become the teacher that I am today. She will be sorely missed. “
Love School Elementary Kindergarten teacher Adrianna Camarata also said working with Conne was a great experience.
“Connie is an encouraging, compassionate and positive person” said Camarata. “She saw the blessings in all situations. She worked hard and was a champion for all the students. I worked with Connie for a year at Love School. She was important to JPS because she always placed her students and staff as her top priority. She was also able to achieve higher results.
Camarata said Love School wished Connie and her husband Doug the best for their retirement.
“They deserve it,” she said.
Foster retired in July, but helped with transitions in the district. She plans to serve missions during her retirement with her husband through her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“One of the most important things is that we have been married for 41 years and we have set a goal that we would like to achieve when we retire, we would like to serve a mission and be missionaries for our church. We are putting our papers in order.
She said that they would be able to take care of the paperwork in no time and that they would be receiving a missionary mission in a few weeks.
“We don’t know what our mission will be” said Foster. “We could do anything from service to proselytizing to educational things. With our two training courses in education, it is quite possible that we will do something in education in another part of the world. We have received a lot and we have been blessed immensely, and we have always wanted to give back and help others who have not been as blessed as we are.
“My husband also retired a year ago from Jamestown Public Schools,” she said. “We both moved here from Arizona and started here in 1990.”
She added that another goal was to visit their five children and grandchildren, who are across the country. Foster said that focusing more on their family farm is also an important task they would like to accomplish in retirement.
Foster said the advice she would give to others entering the education field is to “Stay focused.”
“You have to stay focused on why you entered the profession in the first place, and that’s because you want to help the kids.” she said. “If you keep that focus, they’re the most important part of what you do, and you keep looking for a way to get to them. If they are struggling or having difficulty, challenge yourself thinking that you are going to find a way to overcome it and help them.
She said it’s important not to “Abandon the children”. Foster said she was fortunate enough to work with colleagues who “are really there for the kids,” which made it a very rewarding career.
“If you lose track of why you are here and what you are doing, it is probably a long way for some people” she said. “I can’t believe I’ve been in (education) for 37 and a half years, and I look back on wonderful experiences and wonderful people, and it’s been a great experience. I want to thank the community and the school district and everyone who welcomed my husband and I to the district and who have been a part of our lives.