Longtime West Meadow Elementary School teacher bids farewell

End of school Deb Heitman, the Kindergarten teacher at West Meadow Elementary School, is retiring after 26 years of teaching in the school division. Her last day was June 28. Photo by Rob Vogt

By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer

After a lifetime of teaching – and memories – Kindergarten teacher Deb Heitman is bidding a fond farewell.

West Meadow Elementary School held their Kindergarten “graduation” on June 27, Heitman’s last one, and the next day was her last official day at the school.

Heitman took a break from cleaning her room to make space for the next teacher on Friday, and look back.

“I think for months, it’s going to be reflection,” she said, and looking back at what she loved and what it is time to move on.

Heitman started her career teaching special education for 10 years in California before moving north to the Livingstone Range School Division.

She taught multi-age classes at Granum School, then moved on to Claresholm Elementary School when it was a Kindergarten to Grade 3 facility, then West Meadow where she taught Grade 1 and most recently Kindergarten.

For her, there has been one big highlight.

“The kids – children,” she said. “The joy of watching them learn.”

Her teaching philosophy was simple.

“My goal was always to make learning fun,” she said. “How can you make every day magical and fun for them so they’re inspired to learn.”

The fun part about Kindergarten, she added, is it is the first chance to do that, and a great way to start at West Meadow.

The testament to that was how many parents turned out to watch the Kindergarten farewell celebration.

Heitman is not sure what lies ahead for her.

She would like to travel, and head back to the United States, where all her family lives, to visit.

Until then, she is thankful for her time at West Meadow.

“I had a great job,” she said.

“I thank all the parents and feel so lucky to have so many great kids as my students.”