District recognizes staff of 20, 25 and 30 years


At the Delavan-Darien School District’s back-to-school convocation the morning of Monday, Aug. 29, seven staffers were recognized who have a combined 160 years of service to our the local schools.

They are:

  • 20 years — Kelly Pickel, Brenda Scheff, Keith Vollman and Paul Yanko.
  • 25 years — Tina Paschke and Maria Ramos-Speth.
  • 30 years — Tina Hudy.

Staff who reached their 20-year service anniversary were given a Comet blanket or stadium seat. Those with 25 years here were given a watch with the Delavan-Darien logo on it. Our 30-year veteran was given a commemorative Delavan-Darien “class ring.”

Here is more information about each staffer who have contributed so much for so long to our district and our community’s children:

20 Years

Kelly Pickel started out teaching physical education and health and ended up in administration. Kelly started her career here in 1996, working as a PE and health teacher at DDHS. She also coached tennis at the time. A year later, she found herself among the elementary kids and there she’d stay, teaching physical education to our early grades at Turtle Creek. In 2008 she got a split role as teacher and Dean of Students at the school, which morphed into an Assistant Principal role in 2009. In 2013, she became the school’s Principal. She is now our longest tenured Delavan-Darien principal in all our buildings, overseeing our 4th and 5th grade students and staff at Darien Elementary. Kelly, thanks for moving up the career ladder with us for 20 years.

Brenda Scheff was with Delavan-Darien for a couple of years as a long-term sub before being hired on full time in 1996. She was a long-time first-grade teacher at Turtle Creek Elementary School. She came highly recommended from her peers when she looked at becoming a reading specialist in 2009, a position she still holds today. “As a reading teacher, I find that Brenda has a high level of skill and is always easy to collaborate with. Her first concern is for the students in her classroom,” one of her colleagues wrote when she applied for the reading specialist opening. We agree. Brenda, thank you for putting our students first for 20 years.

Keith Vollman was a substitute custodian for Delavan-Darien for a few of years before being hired on in 1996. He’s a DDHS graduate and worked as a machinist before joining the staff ranks. He’s been stationed at a number of Delavan-Darien’s school buildings, including Darien, Phoenix and DDHS, and has worked both day and night shifts, keeping our schools clean and tidy. Thank you, Keith, for your 20 years of excellent work in keeping our buildings appropriate places for children to learn.

Paul Yanko started with us in 1996, working as both a heath teacher at Phoenix and a Physical Education teacher at Darien. Then, in 1998, he got the itch to do something few of us would ever want… take up an office in perhaps the worst-smelling place in all of our buildings — the Phoenix Middle School boys locker room. He became the school’s male gym teacher and still holds that position today, along with teaching health. He has also been a coach for Delavan-Darien athletes pretty much since the day he got here. His focus has been instructing baseball, but he also coached football and basketball at DDHS and Phoenix. Kudos to you, Paul, on sticking with us and being around adolescent sweat and odors for 20 years! 

25 Years

Tina Paschke fell in love with our district way back in 1991 when she was a student teacher at Wileman Elementary School. She’s been employed here ever since. Way back then, former Wileman Principal Gene Schmig wrote in a letter of recommendation that Tina — quote — “Is capable of establishing a pleasant, educational atmosphere for students.” Mr. Schmig was right. We’re glad she’s kept her pleasant personality and excellent teaching abilities with us for a quarter century. She started teaching fifth grade at Darien and then at Turtle Creek before teaching first and later second graders there for a number of years. She became an elementary reading instructor in 2010, a position she still holds today for us, and for more than 15 years was a gifted and talented program coordinator at the elementary level. Thanks for your 25 years of great service, Tina.

For 25 years, Maria Ramos-Speth has been an ELL instructor for the district, starting first at Phoenix Middle School before coming over to DDHS in 1992. In addition to helping many ELL students learn and master the English language, she taught many physical skills to our kids, as well. She was a head girls basketball coach at Phoenix for more than 20 years, and has also been a volleyball and softball coach at DDHS. She has also been the ELL department chair and has instituted a number of innovative programs to help celebrate the diversity of our students, including a Cinco de Mayo festival at DDHS and partnering with student groups at UW Whitewater to work on preparing our Latina and Latino students for life after high school. Also, she’s a mom of some tremendous female athletes. Her daughters were key parts of a DDHS softball team that got us second place this past school year and the school’s first ever trip to state for a girls team sport. Thank you Maria for supporting our schools for 25 years.

30 Years

Tina Hudy started with the Delavan-Darien School District in the summer of 1986. She was the Food Service Supervisor then and still is today. For 30 years, Tina has kept our community’s children well fed with a variety of delicious food choices. She has kept up-to-date with the multiple changes in federal food service laws, adjusting her menus to what we’re required to provide our children. There were once soda and shake machines, and a food pyramid. Now we have a “my plate” guide and serve hot and healthy breakfast every day, something we didn’t always have to do. We went from lunch tickets to online lunch payments and swipe cards for the kids. A lot has changed in 30 years and we’re glad to have had Tina here for so long, keeping up with the technology and kitchen trends, while looking over our kitchen staff and what goes in our kids’ bellies. Thanks for 30 years of great work and great food service.