After 36 years of teaching, and for many of them coaching, Jim Pappas will retire at the end of the current school year.
Pappas has taught physical education for all of his years at Nevada. He was also assistant and later head wrestling coach at the high school, an assistant football coach and a weight room supervisor for many years. Currently, Pappas teaches nine-12 physical education and is a volunteer wrestling coach.
Interestingly, Pappas said it was teacher cutbacks and wage disputes in Minnesota that caused him to leave there and come to central Iowa. He had previously been the biology and physical education teacher at Winona, Minn., where he was also assistant wrestling and football coach and weight room supervisor; and he spent his summers in Albert Lea working at a restaurant, as a painter and electrician and in a packing house.
Pappas said the most challenging thing about working in education has been the changes in computers and parenting. He didn’t elaborate.
On the flip side, the thing he has enjoyed most about his years in education is “working with and helping students realize their potential.”
“In addition, it’s so very special when present and former students or athletes greet you on the street,” he said. “I will miss the energy of our youth and the people I have worked with.”
Looking toward retirement, one of the things he wants to enjoy 24-7 is “family,” he said. His family includes his wife, Mary, and their daughters and their husbands and children: Emily and Blake Tiedtke, both physical therapists in Cedar Rapids with two children, Abe and Christian; and Jennifer and Mike Johnson, who have an orthodontics business in Waukee and one son, Knox. The Pappases also had a third daughter, Megan, now deceased, and “forever in our hearts,” Jim said.
Other things Pappas said he looks to enjoy in retirement are fitness, gardening, hunting and fishing, volunteer work and relaxation.
His advice to new teachers is this: “Smile, think positive, remember why you’re here, and always do your best.”