Mrs. Sherman retires after 31 years

photo by Kim Cameron | Judy Sherman is honored at the Celebration of Excellence earlier in May.
photo by Kim Cameron | Judy Sherman is honored at the Celebration of Excellence earlier in May.

After teaching two generations of students, Mrs. Judy Sherman is set to retire at the end of this school year.

She began her career teaching kindergarten as Miss Moon in 1981. Originally from Lafayette (when it was smaller), Miss Moon felt at home in Kremmling. She later married Rich Sherman in 1984. Mrs. Sherman stayed home with her children, Cordie and Austin, for a while. She returned to the District when third grade had enough students for three sections.
Mrs. Sherman bounced between first, second and third grades as the overloaded teacher. Eventually, she had an opportunity to return to her beloved kindergarten.

“Five-year-olds are my passion,” she says admitting she will probably volunteer at the school to get her “kid-fix.”

When Mrs. Sherman began her teaching career, kindergarten was the first experience away from mom and dad for many of her “kinders,” as she affectionately calls her students.

Preschool is now the norm and Mrs. Sherman says of the new curriculum, “It would have been first grade curriculum when I began teaching.”

Even with new curriculum and earlier educational experiences, Mrs. Sherman says five-year-olds have not changed fundamentally.

“They are bright-eyed. The world is still fresh and new for them,” says Mrs. Sherman who treasures all the trinkets, drawings and heart-felt gifts she has received over the years. “It just melts your heart.”

She remembers fondly a tree branch a kinder brought her many years ago. The branch was displayed proudly even without its autumn leaves.

“Sometimes we forget they are only five,” says Mrs. Sherman of the changes in education. “There are just little things, if you have a hole in your shirt it may bother you all day, if you are five.”

She adds, “They still need their playtime and socialization.” She also stresses the importance of little things such as writing with chalk for the sensory experience and to use fine motor skills.

Mrs. Sherman also notices changes in the home base from when she began teaching. Kinders are managing busier schedules and their parents may not be home after school.

At the Celebration of Excellence, Superintendent Darrin Peppard asked Mrs. Sherman’s former students to stand. Many of the audience (including adults) stood.

She still follows the accomplishments of her former kinders. Nellie Thomson, West Grand third grade teacher, was named teacher of the year in 2018, and Grover Pryor is the current mayor of Kremmling.

When Mrs. Sherman has a second generation kinder, she shares saved work and photos of their mom or dad when they were in kindergarten. “That has been the fun part of having kids of the kids and being able to say, ‘this is your mom.’”
She concludes, “Kindergarten is just the best kept secret.”

The West Grand School District is hosting a retirement party in honor of Mrs. Sherman on Wednesday, May 29 from 4-6 p.m, in the K-8 Community Room.