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Megan Kelley | Johnson Publications
Mark and Renae Bottom, now of Grant, retired after a combined 31 years of teaching at Chase County Schools. The pair are avid bikers and could be seen riding their bikes to school on good days.

Bottoms retire with combined 31 years at CCS

Mark and Renae Bottom recently ended their teaching and coaching careers at Chase County Schools (CCS).
“It was a weird way to go” because of COVID, Mark said.
“It was a little unsettling because we didn’t get to have that closure,” he added. “Because we all just went ‘poof.’”
Renae agreed.
“I mean we’re never going to forget the year we retired,” she laughed.
Renae taught at CCS for 17 years.
Before CCS, Renae taught at Wheatland before the school in Madrid consolidated into Perkins County Schools.
She taught 9-12 English and journalism classes at CCS, adding in junior high English toward the end of her time in Imperial.
She also taught a media literacy class, which isn’t offered at CCS anymore.
Renae was also an assistant volleyball coach for a few years in the beginning of her CCS career.
Mark has served a total of 18 years in law enforcement, some of those years being with the Nebraska Army Reserves military police.
As of July 1, Mark will officially be retired from the reserves, as well.
Fourteen years ago, Mark was up for re-election as Sheriff in Perkins County when he was hired as the athletic director at CCS.
“I had never taught,” Mark said. “I just got back from my second deployment in Iraq, and I was up for election. It was either file, or do something different.”
He opted for different.
“I’m pretty grateful to Mr. (Matt) Fisher and the board for taking a gamble on me,” Mark said.
He had his bachelor’s degree, but no teaching certificate.
Mark’s certification was paid for through the Troops to Teachers program.
Troops to Teachers was established in 1993 to assist transitioning service members and veterans in beginning new careers as K-12 school teachers in public, charter and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.
Mark’s 14 years of teaching at CCS has consisted of 9-12 social studies.
He has also coached junior high boys’ basketball, track and high school girls’ basketball.

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