By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After years of serving her students in the classroom, this week’s Excellent Educator decided she also wanted to help them in the computer lab.

But in order to do so, she had to learn right along with them.

Debbie Raymond at New Brighton’s Bel Air Elementary had been teaching her own class for three decades when she decided to reinvent herself and became a specialist in the computer lab.

“I kind of learned along with the kids. If I had questions I would ask them,” she said. “Number one, we learn to not panic if things don’t work and a lot of them have skills that we didn’t have growing up so they are way ahead of us in the tech department.”

Now, after eight years in the lab, Raymond is preparing for the next transition.

“I just announced my retirement,” she said.

With 42 years teaching behind her, this new chapter won’t come easy.

When asked if it will be hard to say goodbye, she said yes.

“My daughters have been counseling me. They said, ‘You can come back and sub, get your fix of children and staff,'” she said.

She’s also looking forward to spending time with her two grandchildren.

But, judging by their excitement for their teacher, the kids she is responsible for now will miss her when she’s gone.

“As you noticed the kids when we walked in, there was just an outpouring of love and affection because that’s what they see from her every day all day. We’re going to miss her with her retiring,” Mark Suggs, Bel Air Elementary Community Liaison, said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Raymond has stuck by one philosophy that seems to ring true for her.

“The more you can love other people the more they can love you back,” Raymond said.

When asked what she’ll do in retirement other than focus on being a grandma, Raymond said she wants to write a book. She plans to call it “Notes to the Teacher” and it will be a collection of notes she received and saved throughout her teaching career.


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