It is with sad hearts that we say farewell to Lisa Heaton. We would like to welcome everyone to her retirement celebration on Tuesday, May 26, in the Willow Creek Gym from 3:40 to 5:00 pm.
Below is her own farewell to our community.
Dear Willow Creek Community:
When I came to Willow Creek Elementary, it was 1985. Ronald Reagan was President, there was NO Park Meadows mall, and C470 was not yet opened. I had one Macintosh computer in my third-grade classroom with 128 KB of RAM and floppy disks instead of a hard drive. I was Miss Reamy, down from the mountains, and engaged to be married to Gordon Heaton, who had three older children. Now, thirty years later, those three stepchildren have given me ten grandkids, and Gordon and I have increased our family by a daughter and twin boys. All three of these children — Arianne, Luke, and Caleb — attended Willow Creek Elementary K-5, and then continued in the Cherry Creek School District through high school graduation. So I've had the special opportunity to be a parent in the school, as well as a teacher!
I taught third grade for my first six years and media/technology for the next two. Then I took over the Gifted and Talented program. In my rough calculations, I've worked with well over 1,500 students. As I drive through the neighborhood along Willow Creek Park on my way to school each morning, I am flooded with warm memories. It's not the various awards or the outstanding test scores that make me most proud of Willow Creek Elementary; it's the community of learners I've been a part of. My colleagues have taught me so much. From the beginning, their depth of experience and expertise created a rich environment for me to hone my skills in. And over the years, the students have taught me even more. There have been those students who have knocked my socks off with their commitment, creativity and caring. They have pushed my boundaries to find ways to engage them with purpose! And there have been those students who, despite challenging circumstances, have persevered. They've taught me what compassion, hard work and mutual respect can accomplish. Those everyday experiences in the classroom are the memories that have enriched my career. How I have grown, both personally and professionally!
Willow Creek celebrates a culture of excellence with an exceptional staff and is supported by an amazing community. It's a magical place. I will miss the eager learners, the amazing talents, the smiling faces and the students saying thank you as they leave my room. This transition is bittersweet, a bit surreal, and exciting. I'm filled with anxious anticipation for the changes ahead.
As I leave the Willow Creek community, I want to extend a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU. Thank you for the incredible support. Your children, your families, your educational priorities, your caring about community, your patience, your belief in accelerated programming, and your trust have given me a career I will always cherish. Thank you for sharing your precious children. I have been richly blessed to be a part of this school and community for so long. I have LOVED the journey. It has been an honor and a privilege serving Willow Creek Elementary!
These words from the Scottish poet James Thomson capture my love for the children and my dedication to the teaching profession: "Delightful task, to rear the tender thought, to teach the young idea how to grow, to pour fresh instruction over the mind, to breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix the generous purpose in the glowing heart."
Please consider stopping by the Willow Creek Elementary Gymnasium, 3:40 - 5:00pm on May 26 as I celebrate my retirement. I'd love to reminisce a bit and say farewell to you.
Lisa Reamy Heaton