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Teacher retires after 44 years

Judi Hayward spends her last day at Valencia Valley Elementary School

Posted: June 17, 2008 1:43 a.m.
Updated: August 18, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Valencia Valley Elementary 6th grade teacher Judi Hayward gets a hug from Alicia Spadaro, 11, at the end of her last day of teaching after a 44-year career as an educator.

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She's been an educator for 44 years - 20 of those in the Newhall School District - but Friday was the last day of teaching for Judi Hayward, who described her profession as "the best job in the world."

Hayward said goodbye to her sixth grade students and coworkers at Valencia Valley Elementary School last week before heading to her new home in Redondo Beach, where she will be closer to her family.

"(The students) are moving on, too. They're going on to junior high, but they were sad because they won't be able to come back and visit me," Hayward said. "Some were asking if they could come see me at my new house."

Hayward, 66, started working at Valencia Valley when the school opened in 1988. Before going to work at the Newhall School District, she spent four years as principal at a private school, but found that she missed being around the children.

"It wasn't for me - I like children," she said. "That's what education is all about - teaching children."

Hayward heard the Newhall district was opening a new school and thought that would be a fun experience. But lately, Hayward said she doesn't quite have enough energy to do her best - even at the best job in the world.

"I just don't have the energy any more for all the grading of papers, going to meetings, preparing curriculum and attending conferences," she said.

Hayward thought about staying another year, but realized that her group of sixth graders this year were the perfect class, so by retiring this year, she could save the best for last.

"This is a great class to retire with, because they were so very special," Hayward said. "I'll retire with some great memories."

Hayward found a home in Redondo Beach four minutes away from her 99-year-old father, who still lives in the house where she grew up, and six minutes away from her son and his family.

"I have a granddaughter, Lucy, who is going into first grade, and I'm going to volunteer in her classroom," Hayward said. "Otherwise, you'll find me on the beach. I'm going to grab a novel and I'll be out on the sand."

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