Teaching couple retire after 35 years
June 14, 2011
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.- After a combined 54 years with the Lake Tahoe School District, Jerry and Jill Carter will retire this year. The married couple will be missed, and their shoes hard to fill, said officials from both their schools.
“If you ever need anything, (Jerry Carter) is always there,” said South Tahoe High School principal Ivone Larson. “He’s the first to help out in any situation.”
The Carters moved to South Lake Tahoe in the early 1980s and began teaching here, Jerry Carter at South Tahoe High School and Jill Carter at the now closed Al Tahoe School, in 1984. They’ve gone above and beyond the responsibilities of friends, neighbors and teachers, said longtime friend Gae Neely, a part-time resident of South Lake Tahoe.
“They’re just incredible,” Neely said. “All they do is give. Their middle name is ‘give’. No, their first name is ‘give.'”
Each year Jill Carter made three Thanksgiving dinners to share with her kindergarten class while, in many ways, Jerry Carter shared his time in just as generous of a manner.
“He’s probably as active as a teacher can be…while still teaching regular classes,” said assistant principal Dennis Sarosik. “He likes the work. He likes to be engaged. He’ll be hard to replace.”
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Jerry Carter often volunteered as a stage hand in Sarosik’s wife’s dance studio. He was a member of the high school’s safety committee. He helped students who were in danger of not graduating recover credits and make grades. He also had a unique way of teaching.
Whenever a student asked a question in one of his classes, Jerry Carter would respond with another question.
“He always wanted (the students) to discover the answer,” Sarosik said. “They responded to that. They understood what he was trying to do.”
Jill Carter’s contribution to Bijou Community School was also very significant. She was the safety coordinator at the school and every day she showed up more than an hour early to supervise children who had to be dropped off before most teachers arrived.
“If she didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be able to have supervision for those kids,” said principal Karen Gillis-Tinlin. “And we won’t have it next year.”
Jill Carter epitomizes the kindergarten teacher, Gillis-Tinlin said. She had high academic and behavioral standards for her students, she added.
“She knows what the kids need,” Gillis-Tinlin said. “And she gives it to them.”
The Carters both went to Sacramento State University. Jill Carter began teaching in 1975 in the Elk Grove Unified School District. Jerry Carter began in 1982 in the Linden Unified School District. The rest is history.
“I’ve never met two people who consider work to be a privilege,” Neely said. “They see serving their community as a privilege.”