Sullivan will quit teaching business and math classes

This article submitted by Erin Aagesen on 5/24/00.

Steve Sullivan Steve Sullivan is ready to put away his calculator. After 33 and a half years of teaching at Paynesville Area High School, he will retire this year.

"I've enjoyed teaching," said the accounting and algebra instructor, "but I'm looking forward to not hearing a bell every hour, and being able to do what I want."

What is he going to do with his time? "Who knows?" said Sullivan. "My grandkids need to see their grandparents more." He plans to keep busy through hobbies such as hunting, fishing, golfing, traveling, and carpentry.

Steve is already planning two fishing trips to Canada with friends as well as a 17-day trip to Alaska this summer with his wife, Arlene.

Although he is looking forward to his retirement, Sullivan said, "I'm going to miss the daily association with students and staff."

Sullivan grew up in Nicollet, Minn. where he attended high school. He recalls enjoying the accounting, keyboarding, and math classes.

From there, he went to Mankato State University. He started out pursuing the fields of accounting, business, and math. When he decided against going directly into a career in business or accounting, he looked into education. He began to take the required education courses and sealed his decision to go into teaching.

He completed college with a business major and a math minor. After graduating, he student taught in Luverne, Minn. for four months.

"It went really well," said Sullivan. "It confirmed that that was what I wanted to do."

He began to search for jobs, turning down a position in Kimberly, Wis. for a preferred job in Paynesville, for which he eventually was hired.

"I liked the Paynesville area," he said. "The lakes and woods were more suited for the type of living that I wanted to do, and it was closer to my hometown."

Sullivan began teaching accounting, typing, and special needs math in Paynesville in January 1967. In the years since then, he has filled many other positions, teaching algebra, business math, shorthand, keyboarding, word processing, and driver's education.

"With a background in business, a person can go in many areas," he explained. "I ended up teaching more math than anything." This year, Sullivan taught four periods of Algebra I and one period of accounting, his favorite subject to teach.

Coaching was also a big part of his life. During the first fifteen years of his career, he coached seventh and eighth grade football, basketball and track, and was the varsity assistant coach for track and football.

He was in charge of the prom committee for two years. He also served in the local education association positions-president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer-through the years.

Through his career, the biggest change Sullivan has seen has been in technology. Primitive versions of what we have today were much more expensive. According to Sullivan, when ten key calculators were first being used, they cost about 30 dollars. Now, he said, a much more advanced scientific calculator can be purchased for half of that.

Logistic changes, such as new contracts, and enforced changes, such as The Profile of Learning have been parts of the job that Sullivan has found frustrating. However, it is clear he, for the most part, likes teaching.

"I like seeing the light go on when students figure things out, and seeing students being successful after leaving my classes," he said.

"But I won't miss parking duty!" he added, with a smile.

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