BY EMILY KURTZ
After teaching for 34 and a half years, Leslie North has decided it is the right time for her to retire from her career at Wadsworth High School and begin branching into a new chapter of her life.
Right from her childhood, North knew that she was born to teach. She knew that she wanted to jump into education before many other kids even had a clue to what a career was.
“In kindergarten I got a chalkboard and red pens for Christmas,” North said. “So I know I’ve never really veered from that.”
North’s plans were originally to become an elementary school teacher. Those changed as she entered high school when she realized the love she had for the different types of math that are taught at that specific age level.
North has had the opportunity to teach both a semester at Portage Lakes Joint Vocational School (now Portage Lakes Career Center) and at Wadsworth High School within her entire 34 and a half years of teaching. Now at Wadsworth, she teaches three upper level math classes a day.
Throughout her years of teaching, North has realized that the job is something that comes with ups and downs, just like many other things in every day life. North still finds a way to love teaching even on the bad days by discovering ways to push through the tough times with positive thinking.
“You know that like today didn’t go well and I didn’t get done what I wanted to do, but I got tomorrow, we can fix it tomorrow,” said North. “At some point you have to become human.”
The most gratifying part of teaching for her has been to watch some of her students discover the love for math that she once found for herself. She feels proud when kids reciprocate her interest and excitement in the new topics that they learn, or even when she gets emails from former students saying that they have decided to major in math and use the subject in their careers.
After she retires, North wants to travel, volunteer, and spend more time with her growing family.
“My mom is getting a little older, and I just want to be able to do some things with her,” North said. “I have two boys and one’s getting married soon so I’m going to have a daughter-in-law.”
Mrs. North has had an impact on many students’ lives throughout her entire career, which may be part of the reason she has been chosen as Teacher of the Year.
“It’s so humbling, and it makes it harder knowing it’s the last year,” North said. “I feel really blessed.”
North is also very happy to have been able to share the moment with her family.
“It’s special to share a moment like that with the people that are the most important people in your life,” North said.
Mrs. North is proud of her time spent at Wadsworth High School and thinks winning Teacher of the Year was the perfect thing to wrap up her teaching career. She will miss all of her students when she leaves but hopes they know how much she has appreciated them. North will also miss many of the irreplaceable relationships she has had the privilege of creating.