Dedicated paraeducator retires after 21 years
Dedicated paraeducator retires after 21 years
Posted on 06/19/2018

Paraeducator Connie Hamann is at work before many of us are out of bed in the morning. Even though her day does not officially start until 6:25, Hamann is usually at work by 5:40 a.m. “I like to get to work early and be ready for the day,” says Hamann.

Hamann has been a paraeducator in the Puyallup School District for 21 years. She has dedicated all her years working with students who have disabilities. She began her career with preschool children at Hunt Elementary in the EXCEL (Exceeding Challenges Through Education & Life Skills) program. In this program she worked with students who had moderate to profound physical and developmental disabilities including students who were non-ambulatory and non-verbal. When the program moved to Riverside Elementary Hamann followed. Hamann couldn’t go long without being around the students she cared for so dearly, so also dedicated her summers to working in the Extended School Year (ESY) program. ESY provides services to support students with an individualized special education plan (IEP). While working in the ESY program Hamann realized how muConnie and student getting on busch she enjoyed working with students in junior high and high school. “By the end of the program I knew I wanted to work with the older students. You may still have to deal with some behavior issues, but the students are terrific,” said Hamann.

For the last three years Hamann has worked at Puyallup High School as a one-on-one para. She has worked closely with the same student for six years, first at Ferrucci Junior High and now at the high school. Connie’s day begins and ends with a school bus ride with her student. Working with one student over the years Hamann has developed strong ties with the student as well as his family, creating a successful environment of learning and trust.

“I love my students. My job is so rewarding. The kids are so happy to see you, they love you no matter what.”

                                                                                                  Connie Hamman

When co-worker Peggy Haskey was asked about Hamann, Haskey couldn’t say enough kind words. “Connie has dedicated 21 years of her life to the students with special needs in Puyallup, and they all have a special place in her heart. She goes out of her way to make sure they all know they are important. She believes they can all do great things and she is instrumental in helping them achieve them.”

Connie working with studentRetiring this year, Hamann will be taking her last bus ride on June 21. She will be greatly missed by the students, staff, and the parents she has worked closely with over the years. When asked what she is going to do when she retires Hamman replied, “I’m looking forward to spending time with my family.” Hamann is glad she will have the time to help her daughter, take care of her mother, and to enjoy her one-year-old grandson, Cruz. Although she is looking forward to retiring, Hamann has decided to become a substitute para in the district. “I can’t leave the kids. I would miss them way too much,” Hamann said. It is clear Hamann’s caring nature is genuine and extends beyond the classroom.

The Puyallup School District is thankful for Connie’s commitment, care, and support she has given the students, staff, and families.

“Connie is one of the kindest, most caring individuals with whom I have ever worked. She is loved by her students and she is relentlessly positive and supportive of them. She will be missed in our Support Center and at PHS.”

Principal David Sunich