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    Rich Waldie

    Substitute Teacher Spotlight
    Eagan High School
    District 196

    Richard Waldie has worked as a substitute teacher since retiring from the FBI in 2001. In his first career, he investigated organized crime, kidnappings, and crimes against children.

    In his nearly 25 years working as a substitute teacher, Mr. Waldie has helped countless students at Eagan High School. He’s also become part of the community beyond the classroom by sitting on the district’s legislative advisory committee and acting as an advocate for schools and students. The district staff appreciates his commitment so much that they've honored him through a video that can be found at the end of this interview.

    In this Q&A, Mr. Waldie shares his experiences and offers inspiration to new substitute teachers.

    Why did you become a substitute teacher?

    When I retired, the high school principal told me that I didn’t need a teaching degree to become a substitute teacher. He thought I'd be good at it.

    That principal knew that I taught Sunday School for 25 years while I worked for the FBI. I think that’s the nexus for why I care about kids so much. In the FBI, we treated people fairly, equally, and gracefully and I continue to do that as a substitute teacher. I think that’s why my students respect me.

    What do you like most about being a substitute teacher?

    It's great when I can help a student who is challenged to overcome an obstacle. They may be struggling with a learning disability, behavior disability, or another stressor outside of school. I let them know that I’m there to help them become better people and students.

    What advice would you give to new substitute teachers?

    A few years ago, I was asked to help train new substitute teachers. I would tell them that to do this job, you have to love children and you have to have a heart. If you don’t have that—you should be looking for a new job. You must be compassionate.

    My degree is in political science and history, but I enjoy teaching all subjects, grade levels, and special education. My advice: Don’t be afraid to try something new.

    What is the benefit of being a substitute teacher with Teachers On Call®, a Kelly Education® company?

    They give you access to resources so you can be successful. If I were new, I’d take advantage of the free online classes that they offer—especially when it comes to classroom management or working with students with disabilities.

    You know, my mom was a “Kelly Girl” back in the 1950’s in New York City. Interesting that all these years later I work for the same company. 

    Do you have a memorable moment from your time working in schools?

    It happens for me every day when I walk down the hall and I’m greeted respectfully and joyfully by students and co-workers. I'm lucky that feeling repeats itself every day.

    At age 74, are you looking to retire from a second career?

    I work a few days a week now. I’ll keep working as long as I’m healthy and I enjoy it. I hold all of my co-workers in District 196 and Eagan High School in very high regard.

    Watch this video produced by District 196 to learn more about the impact of Mr. Waldie's work as a substitute teacher.


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