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Picturing a Full Retirement

Former world geography, social studies, and history teacher Richard Chilcote spent many years introducing his junior high students to places they’d never been. Since retiring in 2004, Chilcote has made it a point to take in places that are new to him.

These days, he enjoys traveling with his wife of 33 years and is an avid amateur photographer who enjoys scenic photography (the photo at right is a recent example). He has traveled with his wife to Mexico, the Bahamas, Hawaii, and St. Maarten with future plans to travel across Europe and possibly Tahiti.

When he isn’t checking camera settings or setting up his tripod, this Boise, Idaho, native is likely spending his time on Association work. Chilcote, a former Idaho Education Association president, has served on the IEA’s board of directors since 1980 and currently works part-time as the director of the IEA Member Benefits, a separate corporation of the IEA. “This Association (the NEA) is the other half of my life,” he proudly exclaims.

Chilcote held a local or state Association position during most of his 30-year career, the last third of which he spent as a bus driver.

“The role of a bus driver is much more important than some people think,” he says. “If a child rides the bus to school, the first and last educator they see each day is a bus driver. The driver can set the tone for the rest of the day and wish them well at the end of it.”
As a veteran educator, Chilcote had a distinct advantage when it came to effectively managing the behavior of his passengers.

“It’s a much different relationship with students on a bus compared to a classroom,” he says. “But just as in class, I treated my passengers as individuals, with respect, and set rules and expectations.”

When asked what he misses most about his work in class and on the bus, Chilcote says, “The kids. To be able to have some influence and educate them for life in the real world is very special.”

—Lance Fuller

Florence Pullen

Retired: 1997

My mother, a teacher, had always wanted one of her children to teach, too—and it turned out to be me! I taught 3rd grade in Florissant, Missouri, outside of St. Louis, and retired in 1997. I’ve served ever since in MNEA-Retired, currently as Vice President. 

How do you support teachers through NEA-Retired?
I always tell our teachers, someone helped us along the way. We want to be able to lobby for legislation that influences young teachers. When educators retire, they can still be involved; it’s not the end of things. We’re out there with active teachers, lobbying for them, because someone did that for us. When young teachers ask us questions, we can answer them - we’re a knowledge bank. You might retire, but you’re still a teacher.

Steve Sirkin

Retired: 2007

I taught junior high and middle school math for 30 years  mainly in Baltimore County, Maryland, and then taught an additional two years, one in Washington state and one one in Oregon.

In Maryland, I served as president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO) for four years and then as executive director of the Davis Education Association in Utah for three years.

I currently substitute teach in Oregon, where I moved to in 2005 to be closer to my son and his family.

How do you spend your time in retirement?
I consider myself “volun-tired.”

In the past year, I spent more than 20 days with the Mount Hood Ski Patrol and more than 230 hours with the Red Cross taking calls at its Emergency Services desk. I am also very active in my local Jewish community helping promote community service and health and human services, and serve on the boards of directors with several other organizations.

In my free time, I am trying to publish a book on my teaching experiences and am continuing my education in Jewish culture and learning one morning a week.


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