Pursley ‘graduates’ from third grade
By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Annie Pursley has never had a resume. She’s never applied for a job. The third grade teacher at Chase County Schools will retire this spring without ever having to do these things.
The 1974 Benkelman High School graduate received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Kearney State College in 1977.
Having done her student teaching at Imperial Grade School, she was asked to teach full time the following year. Former teachers Shirley Gardner and Hope Fitzgerald were fellow teachers.
Pursley taught from 1978-80, and then left to stay home with sons Caleb and Drew. She also helped husband Chris with the family farm and ranch near Enders.
While substitute teaching in the area, Pursley was called by the Benkelman school district to teach High Ability Learners from 1984-86. She then again left teaching to stay home for awhile.
During a trip to Denver with a youth group, back in the days before cell phones, Pursley received a frantic call from Imperial Grade School. The first day of school was six days away and there was a third grade teacher opening. Would she take it?
That was in 1989, and she has come back full circle as far as grades are concerned. Pursley has taught third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades, both contained (all subjects) and specific subjects such as language arts.
She has taught under seven elementary principals and four superintendents in eight different classrooms.
Pursley has also been active in the arts festival held at the school.
Over the years, the most challenging aspect of teaching has become “the federal hoops and the testing” in school systems, Pursley said. “Then we weather another educational trend. I’m sure businesses or corporations do this also.
“The kids are my favorites. I’m so proud of them. They always come through. I’m overwhelmed by the coolness of kids,” Pursley enthused.
“By this time of year I can’t believe how far they’ve come and they’ve really grown right before my eyes,” she added.
She will “miss the involvement with these young people” upon retirement, the 58-year old said. “I will probably keep doing things like (SCORE) science camp.”
She also plans to continue an active volunteer schedule and church work.
Then there’s the farm. “Both boys are back with us on the farm. I can be a lot of help.”
Daughter DeeDee is in the physical therapy program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
Teaching wasn’t something Pursley planned on making her life’s work. Hence the lack of resume.
“Teaching grabbed me and I couldn’t get away from it!”