Sheila Donahue, second from left, who is a retiring special education teacher in Hayfield, stands with Deb Oelkers, Angie Kiser and Katherine DeRaad. Not pictured is Denise Butler. Photo by Ruth Hanson
by Ruth Hanson
As Sheila Donahue looked back on her 22 years as a special education teacher in Hayfield, she smiled and said, "I've been blessed and fortunate to work with so many wonderful, talented educational paraprofessionals throughout the years."
She explained that it takes a special education team to educate a child with special needs.
"Hayfield has an excellent administration and teaching staff," she said. "They have always been supportive and willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of our students and to be accessible to them."
Currently Deb Oelkers, one of the paras, shares her musical abilities; Angie Kiser shares her artistic, creative and woodworking abilities and Denise Butler "keeps us organized. They all have unique connections with different students and they inspire students to do their very best and to become successful, independent learners. That's what makes us the Resource Room. I'll miss my students and my colleagues.
And I have been very appreciative of my substitutes. They have always been great. Communication between school and home is essential. I appreciate how very supportive our parents are of their students."
Donahue went to Pacelli High School in Austin and graduated from high school there. She studied for two years at Riverland Community College and finished college at Winona State University. Hayfield High School came next.
She married David, who has retired and has a lawn service.
They have three children. Brandon and Betsy (Obst) live in Winona and are the parents of Maggie, 12; and AnnMarie, 10.
Jenny and Dave (Obst) are the parents of David Patrick, 5; and Mia, 2.
Ryan and McKenzie (Vieth) are the parents of Zoe, who is due to arrive in July.
Donahue plans to work in the flower industry after her retirement.