Teacher Has 'Retired' 3 Times but Keeps Coming Back--and Loving It

Mamie Jean Shippy had to stop teaching when she got married, when she reached mandatory retirement age for California teachers, and again last May when her school district ran short of money.

But she still plans to return to the classroom soon--at age 82.

"I intend to substitute and help out where I can," the spunky teacher insisted last week at a ceremony to recognize nearly 40 years of teaching in the El Rancho Unified School District. "I've enjoyed every day I've been here," she told the audience of more than 75 officials, parents and students. She received an engraved paperweight from Stuart E. Gothold, the county superintendent of schools, and a plaque from parents.

Even though Shippy is small and frail-looking, she is known for her energy. "I've seen that 80-year-old lady crawling around on her knees helping the kids paint a large map of the United States on the (concrete) playground," said Hilda Cano, a parent.

Shippy would often go with the students on their field trips, and attended most teacher conferences in Southern California, officials said. "She is a lifelong student. She was always trying to keep up with the new methods of teaching," county schools consultant Richard Sholseth said.

She "retired" from the Pico Rivera school district in the early 1970s when she reached the state's mandatory retirement age, but returned for 15 more years to teach part time in a program for gifted and talented elementary-school students. State law allows retired teachers to hold part-time positions, but Shippy's job was eliminated last May when the district ran short of money for the program.

In the 1930s, Shippy had to give up teaching at a junior high school in Gillette, Wyo., after she married. "Wyoming had some strange law that said a married woman was not allowed to teach," she recalled.

She joined the El Rancho district in 1952 after she and her husband, Carl, moved to the area with their two sons, Frank and Scott. Her husband died in 1982.

While waiting to return to the classroom, Shippy said she will keep busy working on the family genealogy. The dining room table in her Whittier home is piled high with family albums and genealogical charts. "I won't get bored," Shippy said.

Her former boss said there is a good chance that Shippy will be called on to substitute. "She is still raring to go," observed Grace Nakamura, who heads the district's gifted program.

* When eighth-grade math teacher Clarence Hall lost a $100 bill on the grounds of Franklin Middle School in Long Beach, a lot of his colleagues told him to forget it. But Hall had the last laugh. He decided to mention the lost money in the school bulletin. Ana Carbajal, a seventh-grader, found the bill and returned it to Hall. "I was so proud of her. This is one of the best examples of honesty," said Hall, who gave her a $20 reward.

* Kurt Becker, assistant professor of technology education at Cal State Long Beach, recently received the Outstanding Young Industrial Technology Teacher Award at the Vocational Education Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The award is given to college teachers who demonstrate superior teaching skills, contribute to the curriculum development, publish and perform research.

* Greg Vaughan has been appointed director of university relations for Biola University. Vaughn will retain his position as director of admissions at the La Mirada university. He graduated from the school in 1977.

* Dale S. Warren, vice president at Douglas Aircraft Co. in Long Beach, has been selected the company's 1991 Engineer of the Year, the highest award that the Southern California engineering community gives to an individual. Warren, who received the honor from the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering, was cited for executive leadership, writing numerous technical papers and for his work with various youth groups. He has 36 years of experience in designing and analyzing structures for commercial and military aircraft.

* Warren R. Strong has been appointed president and chief operating officer of Macco Constructors Inc., a Paramount construction company. Strong, a senior vice president with the company since 1986, replaces William M. McCune as president. McCune continues as chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer. Thomas A. Stocksdale replaces Strong as senior vice president. Vincent J. Dinkler was also promoted to senior vice president.

* Long Beach resident Judith Luther has been appointed executive director of the American Woman's Economic Development Corp. of Los Angeles, a nonprofit corporation that trains women who own or are seeking to own their own business. Luther was the executive director of the 1990 Los Angeles Festival. She has served on the boards of the Regional Arts Foundation, the Los Angeles County Advisory Committee to the County Board of Education, the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Los Angeles Athletic Assn.

* Lori Dale was recently named director of sales for the Sheraton Hotel in Cerritos. Dale previously worked as senior sales manager at the Sheraton Kensington Hotel in Tulsa, Okla.

* Charlene Walters is the new director of human resources for the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach. Her responsibilities will include hiring, training and labor relations.

Material for this column may be mailed to Lee Harris, Los Angeles Times, 12750 Center Court, Suite 150, Cerritos Towne Center, Cerritos 90701 , telephone 924-8600.

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