3rd in a series
of interviews with Logan County's retiring teachers
Schilling, a part of 'history' at Mount Pulaski High School, retires
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[May 31, 2011]
MOUNT PULASKI -- When asked what she
had initially considered as a career, Linda Schilling said, "I
really wanted to be invited to work in the Betty Crocker test
kitchens in Minneapolis!" She laughed as she said it, but she wasn't
kidding. Linda gave home economics more than a passing thought but
didn't even major in the subject when she went to college. Her
schooling and final career choice were contradictions of that
Linda graduated from high school in Mason City and received a
bachelor's degree in applied science from Western Illinois
University. Her first job was teaching home economics for five years
at Williamsville High School. When she became pregnant with twins,
it was time to take a break and raise a family. She and her husband
had four children. Linda stayed home to spend time with her
children, and her break from teaching lasted 10 years.
hired to teach home economics and world geography at Mount Pulaski
High School, but she returned to the classroom herself and earned
endorsements that eventually qualified her to teach social studies.
And her career as a history teacher began.
"I had been out of school long enough that my previous classes
would not transfer," Schilling said, "but I could gain endorsements,
and it allowed me to teach in another area. I was part time for over
six years, but by the time my own children were grown, I was
teaching full time."
In small schools, teachers and other staff wear several hats when
volunteers are needed for special events and extracurricular
activities. Linda was no exception, and even though she brushed
aside the opportunity to name some of her involvement, it is a given
that she made a contribution by jumping in and helping out over her
27-plus years of teaching.
With retirement, Linda knows new interests will develop that she
has not yet considered. She enjoys working in the garden and flower
beds, so that will continue, but it will be less sporadic with more
time to watch the veggies and blooms.
"After a full-time job and four kids, there has been no time for
hobbies," Linda said, "but maybe now I will find something or many
things to do which were out of sight before."
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Linda and her husband, Bob, live on a farm outside of Elkhart.
Three of their four children live close. Jennifer and husband Darin
Stoll live in Chestnut. They are expecting a third child. Kevin and
his wife, the former Bobbie Harmening, live in Mount Pulaski, and he
works for Cross Bros. LeeAnn will be getting married in July, to
Jared Brown from Beason. LeeAnn teaches kindergarten at PORTA.
Melissa and her husband, Nate Provost, have recently moved to
Kankakee, where Melissa works for Water Street Solutions, an ag-related
"I am looking forward to enjoying the grandkids and doing all the
things I haven't been able to do in the last 30 years," Linda said.
"I didn't decide to retire until late in the school year -- March or
April. So I haven't had time to process the whole thing yet. I am
cleaning out my classroom and trying to come to terms with what it
all means. I was ready, for sure, but I'm still in transition. I
have no doubt I will be a little lost when school starts and I don't
have to return, but I'm sure I'll be just fine."
[By MARLA BLAIR]
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