By Luke Baynes
When Beth Dusablon and Margaret Munt retire at the end of the school year, they will leave behind more than 70 years of combined teaching experience.
Dusablon, 63, departs after a 42-year career as the longest tenured member of the Williston School District.
“I’ve been here long enough that I’ve taught students whose parents I’ve also taught,” Dusablon laughed.
But Dusablon, who has taught grades 1-4 at both Williston Central and Allen Brook schools, said her loyalty to the school district isn’t uncommon.
“There are quite a few folks in our district who have been here a long, long time, so that says something about the job and the quality of the schools,” said Dusablon.
Munt, 57, is a case in point, having spent the past 28 years teaching first and second grade in Williston. She said she stuck with early childhood education because of students’ openness to learning at that age.
“I love teaching literacy and early math skills. The children are just so inquisitive and eager to learn,” Munt said. “It’s just wonderful to develop relationships with the children and with their families.”
Dusablon, who taught third grade at WCS this year, agreed with her friend and colleague about the pleasures of the early elementary grades.
“I love seeing the change and the growth in the students, and I find that the younger the student, the more easily you see that within a year’s time,” Dusablon said. “When I worked with first and second graders, I would see some incredible changes over a year.”
Munt and Dusablon also give credit to the Williston community for consistently passing school budgets that have enabled the district to increase staffing and ensure small class sizes, despite a student population that has grown dramatically over their lengthy teaching careers.
“The community has always been supportive, and we’ve always had the resources that we’ve asked for, and we really appreciate that,” said Dusablon.
When asked separately what they will miss most about teaching, both Munt and Dusablon immediately responded: “The children.”
For that reason, Munt and Dusablon—who are both Vermont natives and graduates of the University of Vermont—cited “travel” and “visiting grandchildren” as top priorities in retirement.
For Dusablon, after 42 years of working around the school district’s schedule, she’s looking forward to the freedom and great unknown of retirement.
“It will just be nice not to have a schedule, and not to have a to-do list, to kind of take things as they come and not plan for everything,” she said.