Siloam Springs Herald Leader Proud 2018

SSHL Proud 2018

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Proud Milestones 2D n Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Siloam Springs Herald-Leader Proud to serve Siloam Springs with great service, great pricing and great clips! Siloam Springs • Shoppes at Siloam 2998 Hwy 412 E • (Across from Walmart, next to Aldi's) 479-373-6329 M-F 9-9 • Sat 9-7 • Sun 10-6 • Quality Aftermarket Automotive Parts • Alternator, Starter & Generator Repair • Hydraulic Hose Assemblies Siloam Springs 479-524-3760 There is a heritage of pride in living and working in Siloam Springs. Family Owned and Operated Since 1947 Janelle Jessen/Herald-Leader Marilyn and Dan Siemens retired after a respective 36 and 39 years in education. By Janelle Jessen Staff Writer n jjessen@nwadg.com Dan Siemens was sitting at his desk at Barnes Ele- mentary School in Owasso, Okla., on the last day for teachers in May of 2000 when he received a phone call that would change the course of his life. Randall Spears, superin - tendent of Siloam Springs Schools at the time, said he would like to talk to Siemens about a possible elementary school prin- cipal position. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. After 18 years in Siloam Springs School District, Dan and his wife Marilyn Siemens, announced their retirement from their posi - tions as Southside Elemen- tary School Principal and second-grade teacher at Allen Elementary School earlier this year. Marilyn retired at the end of the school year and Dan's re - tirement will be official on June 30. "Dan Siemens has had a very successful career in education," said Ken Ramey, current Siloam Springs superintendent. "He has been an outstand - ing educator and elemen- tary school principal, mak- ing life long relationships with students, staff and co-workers who love him dearly." Ramey said Siemens has always been a positive and motivating leader for both students and staff. "He has lived the phi - losophy 'what's best for kids' and he will certainly be missed by the Siloam Springs School District," Ramey said. Marilyn has had an equally successful career teaching children and has made a great impact on many students over her 36-year career, Ramey said. "It's always difficult to see successful educators leave to retire, but they've earned it and I wish them nothing but the very best in this next chapter of their life," he said. Siloam Springs roots Dan was no stranger to Siloam Springs when he received the phone call from Spears in 2000. His family moved to Siloam Springs before his sopho - more year of high school and he graduated from John Brown University with a bachelor's degree in elementary school educa- tion and a minor in math. Dan landed his first job as a junior high math teacher and coach in Janu- ary of 1977. He left to teach in the Owasso School District in 1979. He spent several years working as a teacher while working on his masters degree in coun - seling with a provisional administrators certificate, then took a job as assistant principal of the middle school in 1982. Dan went on to become the principal of Owasso Middle School for 13 years, from 1987 to 2000. Marilyn grew up in southwest Oklahoma in the small farming community of Frederick. She earned her bachelor's degree at Oklahoma State Univer - sity in December of 1974 and got a job in the Tulsa (Okla.) School District in 1975. The couple met at a Bible study at church in Tulsa. After they married, Mari- lyn eventually got hired as a second grade teacher in the Owasso School District. Oklahoma principal Dan made plenty of memories for himself and his students during his time in Owasso. He was es- pecially known for finding creative ways to challenge students to read. One time he promised to move his office to the school roof if students read a certain amount of books. On another occasion, he completed a reading chal - lenge by dressing up as Elvis and lip syncing to the iconic song, "You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog," with a lineup of teachers serving as backup dancers. To make the perfor - mance complete, Dan arranged for a parent who was a police officer to es- cort him in. After school, a teacher drove him in costume in a convertible to Sonic, and Elvis made an appearance at the fast food restaurant. "Things like that are what kids will remember about elementary school," Dan said. "You know, they learn stuff about math and reading and social studies and science and all those things, but it's those expe - riences that are a little bit odd that they are going to say, 'Hey, remember back at Southside when we did …' Those are the things they are going to talk about years later." One of the biggest hon - ors Dan received while working at Owasso was being selected by his peers to be the president of the Oklahoma Associa- tion of Elementary School Principals in 1998-1999. As a result, he had the opportunity to serve on the board of directors for school administrators for three years, and go to Washington D.C., to lobby congressmen and senators on education issues. Moving to Siloam Springs When the Siemens ar- rived in Siloam Springs, what is now Southside Elementary School was actually two schools, each with separate principals, connected by a central community area. The Southside west building housed fourth- and fifth-grade students and the Southside east building housed second- and third-grade students. Dan was principal of the older students and Marilyn worked in second grade. When the couple moved to Siloam Springs, their three sons Jacob, Jon and Joel were in grades 11, eight and five, respectively. Marilyn said her fam - ily came to love Siloam Springs . "It's still has that small town atmosphere and peo- ple are just wonderful," she said. "There are wonderful people in Siloam Springs. And the school system is pretty progressive, espe- cially for a town this size. Our administration keeps on top of things and are always looking to see what we can do that's best for kids." One of Dan's most memorable events in Si - loam Springs was decorat- ing Southside Elementary School like the 2004 movie "The Polar Express." Dan dressed as the conductor and students hopped on the bus for a field trip to watch the movie in the - aters. Another achievement came during the 2007-2008 school year when South- side Elementary School (grades three through five at the time) received a $39,979 check for the school's improvement on state standardized tests. "It has been an honor to finish up my professional career here at Southside Elementary," Dan wrote in a goodbye letter to teach - ers. "Working with you and the SSSD administration couldn't have been a better situation for me, Marilyn and the boys." Marilyn said some of her best memories are the Couple sets example by doing 'what's best for kids' n Dan and Marilyn Siemens retire together after working a combined 75 years in education. See SIEMENS on Page 6D

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