Ozarks Life: The Dynamic Duo at Logan-Rogersville

LRHS features two teachers who are over the age of 70.
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 10:17 AM CDT
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ROGERSVILLE, Mo. (KY3) - Change is everywhere in schools these days.

New clothes. New subjects. New aspirations.

But at Logan-Rogersville High School you can count on three things: Mrs. Mistler, Mrs. Stewart, and the tardy bell.

“I’m so thankful they continue,” principal Dr. Teresa McKenzie said, “because they’d be hard to replace.”

LRHS features two teachers who are north of 70 years old. They’re older than the school district they work for. In 1965, the Logan School District consolidated with the Rogersville School District.

Karen Stewart has spent 27 of her 30 years of teaching talking about verb forms and tenses in Spanish and French.

“I’m living the dream with my passion,” Mrs. Stewart said, “and I’m not being sarcastic when I say that.”

Charlotte Mistler has been talking protons and electrons for 25 years at LRHS over her 34-year career.

“I myself love to learn,” Mrs. Mistler said. “And I love taking that information that I’ve learned and giving it to my students.”

And it is chemistry in their classrooms, not just Mrs. Mistler’s, that keeps both of them young at heart.

“It’s the students,” Mrs. Stewart said. “Absolutely, it’s a different day, every day.”

“I just love getting up in the morning,” Mrs. Mistler added, “coming to school, meeting their faces.”

Just as their classrooms have moved on from chalkboards to whiteboards, these two teachers have transformed as well. What worked with the previous generations no longer applies as new technology opens learning opportunities.

“(Used to have) VCR tapes to reinforce concepts or bring cultural content into it,” Mrs. Stewart said.

“Did you find that sometimes when you were in school, that you just memorize and you didn’t really understand, and it was gone,” Mrs. Mistler asks. “Now they’re going to apply what they learn.”

“They’ve changed with times they’ve changed with technology,” Dr. McKenzie said, “and they continue to learn and grow.”

But growth is one thing Logan-Rogersville, and many schools are lacking. New teachers coming in. But that’s what makes this pair priceless.

“Our world is becoming smaller,” Dr. McKenzie said. “Learning languages and being able to communicate with others is important. And Mrs. Stewart is given up a planning period because there’s a demand for World Languages.”

“If you talk to Missouri State,” Dr. McKenzie continued, “we’re not getting student teachers in chemistry; we’re not getting those teachers. So when Mrs. Mistler finally decides to retire, I don’t know what’s out there.”

But retirement is definitely not one of the “Three Rs” for these educators.

“People asked me, ‘where do you work’ and I say ‘I don’t work,’” Mrs. Stewart said. “I said, ‘I teach.’ And when it becomes work, when it becomes a job, that will be telling me that I need to step away.”

“I just wish we had more young people interested in the teaching field,” Mrs. Mistler said. “This is my home. This is where I need to be.”

“They are missing the opportunity to maybe change a student’s life,” Mrs. Stewart concluded.

“The biggest thing is just their root in tradition,” Dr. McKenzie says about the pair. “And really understanding what it means to be a Wildcat, and what it means to be at LR, and we think we have a special culture. And I think they really help keep that culture going.”

Both of these women started teaching a little later in life after previous careers. Proof it’s never too late to make a positive impact on a kid’s life.

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