AURORA -- The end of an era has come to Hope Christian Nursery School as Administrator Linda Lawyer approaches her retirement in May.

Lawyer has been at the school for 35 years, first as a teacher and later as head of the school.

To celebrate her retirement, teacher Anne Ramsay said the school is hosting an open house May 7 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 456 S. Chillicothe Road.

"All past students, teachers and parents are invited," she said. "It's going to be great to have all these people come back and see her."

The school's graduation date is May 22.

Lawyer said she will miss the school.

"I'm there almost every day," she said. "I have enjoyed every single day I've been there. The children come in and they're all fresh and excited to be there. I'm going to miss the staff and the camaraderie we have. Those relationships are so rich. I can't think of anything I'm not going to miss."

She said she "just thinks it's time" to move on. "I don't have any specific plans other than keeping my options open and looking for where God directs me," she said.

Ramsay said a new administrator has been chosen, but can't be named yet.

Lawyer said she has great confidence in the new administrator and teachers to continue the school's work. "I think the school is going to be well taken care of," she said. "The staff and new administrator are on board and ready to go."

Reflecting on her time with the school, she said a great deal has changed, but much also has remained the same.

"Children are always children, and they're eager to learn and explore their knowledge, and that hasn't changed," she said. "I think, obviously, the school systems -- and it doesn't matter where they go -- the school systems are expecting more of them academically."

The school has had to change its own expectations and activities so children are "comfortable going to kindergarten," said Lawyer.

As a teacher and administrator, she said one of her favorite parts of teaching is seeing students succeed.

"I think some of my greatest joys have been seeing the children become passionate learners, as they learn to strive and learn and grow and experience what's out there for them," she said. "They're not stagnant; they're always growing and changing. When you see an 'Ah-ha' moment they reached, you know they've really learned something."

She said one of the advantages of Hope Christian Nursery School is it has relatively small classes, which enables "teachers to really interact with children. "There's more time to really get to know the children and learn what they're interested in," she said.

Given almost any interest -- from My Little Pony to construction vehicles -- she said teachers can design lessons, using those interests as central themes, providing motivation for students.

Among the greatest challenges of education is determining how each student learns, she said, explaining different types of activities work to varying degrees for different students. "It's a learning process for us all," she said.

Lawyer also said the church pastors, church council and board "have been very supportive of the school. We have always aimed to work with each other and be team players. The pastors at the church have been delightful to work with."


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