Thank you to each of our colleagues who are retiring this year for your exceptional contributions to the College of Education. While we will miss you in our classes and on our teams, we wish you all a wonderful retirement. Good luck in your next adventure!
Dr. Sharon Doubet – Department of Special Education
Doubet has spent a total of 45 years in the field of early childhood and early childhood special education. Since coming to Illinois State University in 2008, she has taught early childhood special education classes, served as a mentor for master’s level students, and served as a dissertation advisor for doctoral students. Her research focused on the social and emotional development of very young children, and a favorite aspect of her role was seeing our students observing in early childhood classrooms and applying what they see to the topics they are studying. In retirement, Doubet plans to be involved in a few state/national projects while also having more time for adventures!
Dr. Jim Palmer – Department of Educational Foundations and Administration
Palmer has dedicated his work to focusing on the study of community colleges since 1979. He joined the Illinois State faculty in 1992, and has chaired or co-chaired 48 doctoral dissertation committees while teaching a variety of courses. Since 2000, he also served as the editor of Grapevine, which compiles annual data on state fiscal support of higher education and is a joint project of the Center for Study of Education Policy and the State Higher Education Executive Officers. This particular role provided a strong foundation for studying and writing about the fiscal challenges of community colleges. Palmer will sorely miss engaging with students and ending a class when all were engaged and everything clicked. In retirement, he is looking forward to more travel and to new learning ventures, as he plans to study mathematics and Spanish (most likely at a community college).
Jim Potter – University High School
Potter started teaching in the laboratory schools as a faculty associate in 2000. Before that, he taught English in Nagoya, Japan, for 10 years until his return to Illinois. Upon his return, he worked as a bilingual tutor for Unit 5 and as an interpreter on the production line for Mitsubishi. At U-High, he taught Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 and all levels of French. Potter has been on various committees and has sponsored Student Senate and French Club. His favorite aspect of teaching at U-High is the enthusiasm and zest for learning of his students. He plans to keep busy during retirement, playing the piano and pipe organ, working in his yard, and travelling more.
Wendy Smith – University High School
Smith is completing her 25th year at U-High, serving in a variety of roles including driver education teacher, coach (volleyball, basketball, and softball), assistant athletic director, and athletic director for the last eight years. She recalls the pride of seeing students reach their goals as being her favorite moments at U-High, whether it be students showing off their brand new driver’s license or seeing a student-athlete or team elevate their play through hard work and determination. Smith looks forward to relocating to the warm, sunny beaches of Florida in a couple of years, and spending her time traveling and all the other things she has put off doing due to her hectic schedule as athletic director.
Karen Valouche – University High School
Valouche is finishing her 35th year in education and spent her first 22 years teaching and serving as a school counselor in Amarillo, Texas. She has been a school counselor at U-High for the last 13 years, while also serving as the head volleyball coach for seven years. Favorite moments of her coaching role were working with the athletes day-to-day and any time her teams made the postseason. As a counselor, she always enjoyed the moments where students shared their college plans. In retirement, Valouche is looking forward to lots of trips with her husband in their motorhome, including to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! She is also planning to work in her garden and yard, and spend more time with family and friends, all without having to follow any set schedule.