After 31 years of serving the Lakeland Catholic School District (LCSD), Diane Bauer is closing this chapter of her life and retiring.
Since a young age, Bauer has known she wanted to work in education. At the age of 12, she told her mother she wanted to be a teacher. In 1983 her life-long dream of teaching became a reality when she started her career at Notre Dame Elementary School.
“I think it’s because I had some excellent teachers that were all role models for me. Some people don’t know what they’re going to do until they have graduated from high school, but me, I am pretty sure I had told my mother I was going to be a teacher by Grade 5, and I never changed my mind.”
Over the years her role has changed within LCSD. For over 16 years she has worked in a leadership position with the district, stepping into her current position as assistant superintendent 10 years ago.
If anything, Bauer said, she is going to miss the wonderful staff, parents, and students within the LCSD.
“We have a great team here, and when you work with them for so many years, obviously I’m going to miss that teamwork,” Bauer continued.
During her time with LCSD she worked with two superintendents, both with a strong focus on the importance of their students and education.
“We just have a strong sense of teamwork… and we have been able to accomplish some very good things. I think that is because our focus has always been the success of our students,” noted Bauer.
In her role as assistant superintendent, Bauer was responsible for human resources, instructional coaching, and leadership for the LCSD student achievement, among other duties.
Mary Anne Penner, board chair of LCSD, said over the years, Bauer has worked creatively to come up with ideas that will benefit both the students and staff throughout the school district.
“Some of the things she has brought in and implemented, our students excel in everything that they do, and I think that speaks highly of her skills,” noted Penner. “In her role as assistant superintendent she has been amazing in helping design programs to ensure that all staff, including new teachers, receive the support they need to be affective in the classroom.”
LCSD superintendent Joe Arruda described Bauer as an extraordinary leader, who always kept students in the forefront of her mind when brainstorming ideas and making decisions.
Arruda worked with Bauer for four years and is sad to see her leave.
“She has provided exceptional service to the students, staff and parents of the entire LCSD community. She was dedicated to student learning, system learning, and always used board resources for the benefit of all students… she dedicated her entire career to Lakeland Catholic.”
This includes her work creating a program that helps ease new teachers into the LCSD system.
“She came up with the whole idea of mentoring our new teachers coming into the district, and ensuring they had the best of what the district could offer to assist them in their first years with us,” continued Penner.
This program, among others, has been well-received by teachers within the school district.
With her final day amid the LCSD just around the corner, Bauer is looking into the future with a few things in mind as she prepares to say goodbye on March 31.
“I do have a couple of trips planned, and I want to spend more time with family,” Bauer said, adding she has been asked time and time again what she plans on doing now that her retirement is in sight. She simply answered, she doesn’t quite know yet.
“I am just going to see how it goes,” she laughed.
As she moves on into the next chapter, Bauer wants to thank everyone at LCSD for their support and leadership over the years, including that of Penner, who has worked alongside Bauer since 1989.
“I have been around a long time, and I really appreciate her passion… She has a passion for drawing out the best in students,” said Penner. ”With her help, we have been able to excel as a district.”