Some people just know what they are destined to do with their lives.
Retiring teacher Kathy Baumann knew she wanted to enrich the lives of children from an early age. That’s what she has done as a primary school teacher in the Cambridge-Isanti School District for the past 38 years.
“I’ve just met so many people that are so gifted and creative,” Baumann said.
Baumann grew up here and had the opportunity to teach at Cambridge Primary School, where she was once a student.
Some may say that’s history; others may say that’s destiny. Either way, Baumann cherishes the memories she has made.
“Going to miss the kids; I do love the teaching part,” Baumann said. “I love when the light bulb comes on in reading or math.”
Her philosophy is that “learning is a journey, not a race,” and Baumann taught her students the life-long virtue of compassion and instilled a strong sense of community in her classroom. One of the experiences Baumann is most proud of is of her collaboration with Cambridge Medical Center, where she brought her students to interact with the elderly to promote an understanding of someone different from themselves.
“The kids really loved the grandparents, and they loved them back,” Baumann said.
There was also the community school playground that she, along with former CPS Principal Chuck Niles dreamed up. The school was lacking a good playground and people like Baumann made it happen.
“Main Street contributed so many things whether it was money, man power or supplies,” Baumann said. “Parents got involved, so it was teachers, parents and community involved in (that).”
Baumann even reminisces about the 1976 Firebird she bought after her first year of teaching. She still has it today and had it fully restored two years ago.
“I’m excited; I went through some really nostalgic times when thinking about all of the things, but I knew it was time,” Baumann said.
Baumann and her husband, Tom, have the benefit of retiring together. They are looking forward to spending more time at their cabin in Bemidji and with their children and family. They have already planned a trip to Alaska in August. Traveling is something Baumann looks forward to doing more of.
Like any teacher, Baumann offered wisdom to students.
“Make the most of every experience you have through school. … Things aren’t going to blossom for you right away.”
Though she may be done teaching in this role, Baumann doesn’t think learning ever truly ends, and she wants students to know that.
“Enjoy school and try to have a little love of learning. I always hoped that I instilled that a little bit; lifelong learning is more important than anything.”