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Teachers share retirement plans, joys of working in CASD

At the end of the 2023-24 school year, Sheckler Elementary School said goodbye to three teachers who are ready to enjoy their retirement.

Kindergarten teacher Lynn Hurd grew up in Ackermanville before graduating from Bangor Area School District and Kutztown University. She has degrees in regular and early childhood education, as well as a post-baccalaureate degree in special education.

She has been teaching in the Catasauqua Area School District since 1992. She also taught Project Connect early intervention for a year.

“Teaching in Catasauqua is embedded in my heart forever,” Hurd said. “Sheckler became my home and second family. Teaching kindergarten in Catty will always have a special place in my heart.”

She stressed how much she will miss the students.

“I will genuinely miss every child I have had the honor of teaching,” Hurd said. “Each parent has graciously shared their young child with me. As they walk into Sheckler for the first time, the kindergarten teachers hold the keys to their precious little hearts. It is our job to care for them as they begin their school years.”

She said she will also miss her colleagues at Sheckler Elementary.

“They have been my rocks and pillars for 32 years of my life,” Hurd noted. “Through all of life’s moments, the Sheckler faculty has been a true extension of my family. Any teacher who works at Sheckler knows the special bond we all carry within us.”

Hurd is exploring a new career path in her retirement. She has decided to apply to be a flight attendant with Allegiant Airlines.

“Every day planes fly over our playground, and the kids would wave,” Hurd said. “I would look up and say, ‘One day, when I grow up, I want to wave to you from a plane as I fly over Sheckler.’”

She is also looking forward to traveling and spending time with her three children.

She said she has genuinely enjoyed her time teaching kindergarten in the district.

“It is a small world, and Catasauqua is a small but mighty community,” Hurd said. “I am excited to see where life takes the children as they grow up. I can only hope they remember the kindness I had in my heart for each and every child and the memories I hold in my heart.

“Even though my home is in Parkland, I will always bleed brown and white,” Hurd added. “Go Roughies!”

Third-grade teacher Wendy Laubenstein is originally from Bethlehem and moved to Kutztown after getting married. She attended Bloomsburg University and earned a master’s degree in education from Penn State University.

“Sheckler was my first and only teaching job,” Laubenstein said.

She was hired in October of 1989 and taught third grade most of the time, with a two-year stint in first grade.

“That put me at 34.92 total years of teaching in Catty,” Laubenstein added. “I was also a program coordinator at Sheckler for 13 years.”

In the program coordinator role, she was in charge of the Halloween parade, Thanksgiving dinner and other events. She also served as the liaison between the school and the Home and School Association.

“Sheckler Elementary has always been a special place,” Laubenstein said. “We uphold many traditions, and the staff gets along well. My favorite memories are of the various holidays we still celebrate, like Halloween and Christmas.”

She said she will miss the daily interactions with the students and seeing them come back and visit as they get older.

“I like the smallness of the Catasauqua community,” Laubenstein said. “Mostly, I will miss the fantastic and supportive people I worked with.”

In addition to teaching in Catasauqua, she spent 22 years working with Championship Auto Racing Teams as a registrar for the Indy Car racing series during the summer months. She even used to take her class on field trips to Nazareth Speedway.

She was on the board of directors and served as president of Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary Charities, where she worked as the head of the Buckle Up Baby program to provide infant car seats to hospitals.

Additionally, she was the friends and family coordinator for the U.S. bobsled/skeleton team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and the International Traveling Officials travel coordinator for the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

She noted she hasn’t made any concrete plans for her retirement.

“There are many things I’d like to do that I didn’t have the time off to attend,” she said. “I have many interests, so I’d like to pursue other opportunities doing things that I love, and in the words of Ina Garten, ‘Be ready when the luck happens.’”

First-grade teacher Brian Sigafoos grew up in Phillipsburg, N.J., and currently lives in Nazareth.

After graduating from Phillipsburg High School, he earned an associate degree from Northampton Community College, a bachelor’s degree from DeSales University and a master’s degree from Wilkes University.

Before becoming a teacher, Sigafoos worked in the banking industry for 25 years. He then spent the next 21 years teaching in the CASD.

He began teaching at the former Lincoln Middle School in Catasauqua. He then transitioned to Catasauqua Middle School. He finished his teaching career at Sheckler, where he taught both first and second grades.

“I will miss seeing all of the wonderful students and helping them grow to reach their greatest potential,” Sigafoos said. “I have enjoyed building relationships with parents and working in this close-knit community.”

Sigafoos and his wife, Sue, have been married for 41 years and have two children, Claire and Evan, and two grandchildren, Carson and Colton.

In his retirement, Sigafoos said he and his wife are excited to travel and spend time watching their grandsons. He also noted he is learning how to make pottery.